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Welcome to the first entry in our Forest Diary…
Covering 37,554 hectares (145 square miles), the New Forest Crown lands are a place of ancient history, fascinating wildlife and stunning beauty. Originally a royal hunting preserve, the forest has survived for nearly 1,000 years.
But when I ask people what they enjoy most about it, the answer will be different every time.The woods and heaths of the New Forest mean so many things to so many people – and (along with our partners), it is the Forestry Commission’s job to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy when they visit.
However, as well as being the UK’s biggest provider of outdoor recreation, the Forestry Commission is also the country’s largest land manager, responsible for expanding and promoting sustainable woodlands. It is this balance which is fundamental to the work of the Commission – managing a productive working forest, whilst maintaining the natural beauty which attracts so many visitors and which local people have such pride in.
Through this, the first of a regular weekly column, we hope to show just how this delicate balance works so successfully.
‘The Forest Diary’ aims to encourage readers to discover the variety of free ways to get out and enjoy the forest, as well as demonstrating how sustainable timber is grown and harvested, how it is used and how the profits from timber sales are reinvested to fund tree planting, conservation projects and recreation work.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some of your local Forestry Commission staff, letting you know about upcoming events, exploring the changing seasons and taking a closer look at key projects going on across the area. To find out more about your local forests, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforestandlook out for next week’s Halloween themed column about bat conservation…