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Forest Diary - February

Sprucing up the New Forest 

by Gary North, Recreation Manager, Forestry Commission (

It seems that not a week goes by without our office receiving a call about rubbish being dumped on the Forest. Litter and fly-tipped rubbish is unsightly and potentially dangerous to humans, and grazing livestock in the Forest. Litter can be a particular problem at heavily used sites although the whole of the New Forest is vulnerable to fly-tipping.

That’s why I felt so passionate about supporting last year’s national litter campaign, when communities were encouraged to take part in clean-ups to mark Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday. During last year’s events more than 40 community groups went out across the New Forest area and collected over 800 bags of litter.

This year we want to get even more local people involved with attacking the blight of litter! We’re working together with the New Forest District Council, New Forest National Park Authority and other partners to inspire communities to get involved and spend a few hours litter-picking together to make the New Forest even more beautiful.

For many of us, the New Forest is the perfect place for walks and enjoying quality time together in a wonderful location. So I’m challenging you to do your bit and give up just a few hours to get involved in one of the local litter-picks. The Great British Spring Clean, which is a national event, promises to be the most monumental of all litter clear-ups and will take place from Friday to Sunday, 3 – 5 March 2017.

We’d love to have your personal support in making this event truly spectacular and promote a sense of pride in the Forest we all love. Although at first it may not sound like a fun activity, you’ll be amazed at how many other like-minded people you’ll meet at our community litter-picking events. So why not join in one of the special events run by the Forestry Commission and our partners? You’ll find us at the following locations:

Bolton’s Bench Car Park, in Lyndhurst on Friday 3 March 10am - 12pm

Beaulieu Heath Car Park, on the B3054 on Friday 3 March 2pm - 4pm

Wilverley Plain Car Park, near Burley off the B3058 on Saturday 4 March 10am - 12pm

Roundhill Campsite, Beaulieu Road, near Brockenhurst on Saturday 4 March 2pm – 4pm

Ocknell Campsite, Fritham on Sunday 5 March 10am - 12pm

Holmsley Campsite, Forest Road, near New Milton on Sunday 5 March 2pm - 4pm

We are all prepared for these events, with everything required, gloves, bags, grabbers and bag-hoops for volunteers to use.

In the weeks running up to 3 March, I’ve arranged for extra cleaning to be carried out by our contractor. A total of 152km of New Forest road verges will be litter-picked, in addition to the regular litter collections that we carry out across the Forest.

We work hard to make sure that bins in Forestry Commission car parks are regularly emptied to cope with increasing footfall across the forest. However, during the spring and summer, with the rise in visitor numbers and better weather, there is an increase in litter. So should you find that a bin is full, or you visit a site where bins are not available, please take your litter home with you. Leaving it next to the bin, even if it’s neatly bagged up, might seem like the right thing to do, but it poses a real threat for the ponies and cattle that roam freely across the New Forest. Sadly every year, a number of animals have to be put down because they have swallowed plastic or metal left by unsuspecting people. Our bins are animal-proof, but even the most tightly tied bag of rubbish isn’t, so if in doubt, take it home and dispose of it there, not forgetting to recycle what you can of course!

I’m looking forward to working together with the local communities to demonstrate that there are many, many of us that care passionately about this issue and are prepared to do something to help sort it out.

I really hope you’ll join us for the Great British Spring Clean and keep this jewel in Hampshire’s crown a great place to live and visit.

More information about this year’s campaign can be found out by visiting:



Last updated: 6th April 2017


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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.