The New Forest December newsletter

Ice covered pond at Foxbury, New Forest, Hampshire
Published : 05 Jan 2016

Fancy learning more about our work in the New Forest? Our ranger team have created this monthly newsletter that will better inform you of our work our New Forest Northern Commons, local events and showcase some of the fantastic wildlife that the Forest supports.

We invite you all to write in with questions about our work, stories about interesting events in the past, pictures of your favourite places/wildlife and any feedback about the newsletter itself.

From Michael Handley, our countryside ranger

This month has been a busy time in the Forest for us ranger folk. We have started on our gorse and scrub clearance work across our sites to reinvigorate this heathland staple and open up the heathland and grassland sites. We have also been hot on the heels of our contractors for clear-up on Rockford common who are felling the non-native Turkey oak.  

This work is progressing nicely and has made a fantastic impact on the site around Bigsburn hill. Our volunteers and ourselves have also been setting up for this year’s tranche of tree planting by staking out where volunteers from across our wider community will come in and plant the trees. We are also carrying out track maintenance at Rockford to improve access for the local residents.  

Looking forward we have more habitat management booked in across all of our sites, between our contractors and the in house work, a good amount of work will be carried out through cut and clear, and hopefully later on in the season standing burns of gorse and mature heath.  

We look forward to the Christmas period, mince pies at lunchtime, and perhaps some snow? Who knows? We hope that you have a fantastic Christmas, we will be enjoying ourselves in the Forest and staying very festive.  

Volunteers and staff at Foxbury Common
People clearing scrub on Foxbury Common, New Forest
Volunteers and staff at Foxbury Common

Bramshaw Commons

Sadly after the success of the orienteering event in Foxbury (see below) the perimeter fence line was cut and posts were damaged resulting in Foxbury’s three ponies escaping, and putting our graziers cattle at risk.  

We have appointed contractors, to the Furzley crossroads area, to remove gorse and scrub which are threatening the condition of Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM’s) around Stagbury hill. These consist of a number of bronze age burial mounds and the site of an old rabbit warren.  

More details about Furzley can be found on the Historic England website

Hale Purlieu

Our community gorse cutting area is progressing really well, thank you to all those that regularly come out and help.  

We will be returning in the new year to focus on our other priority gorse areas, as well as removing pine and birch seedlings.   We had a fly tip of garden waste in November. If anyone has any information regarding this please contact us.  


We had Sarum Orienteering club run an event on the site in November. They had over 350 entrants, (some as young as 5 and as old as 80!), running throughout Foxbury and using map skills—a successful day.  

We were out in November with our volunteers tree staking, ready for tree planting in December—to get involved see our events page.  

Rockford and Ibsley Commons

We have had contractors out continuing the rotational cutting and burning of degenerate gorse stands within Rockford’s former gravel pit. They have also thinned 50% of maturing pines on Rockford, on the area that leads onto red shoot plain, to increase open heathland habitats.  

The foraged bracken on Ibsley is being removed and used as on a farm in Bransgore. We have had lots of reports of night cyclists on Ibsley recently— cycling is strictly prohibited on Trust land, we have no designated cycle ways and local commoners have reported some cyclists trespassing onto their land.

Please report any instances to us.

Hightown Common

New fencing is being erected by the highways agency along the A31. We will be working with them to ensure livestock safety and SSSI habitats are not damaged.  

Volunteers planting trees at Foxbury, New Forest, Hampshire

What's on at Foxbury

Join us for an outdoor adventure or take part in out huge, ongoing restoration project.

Contact information

To book or enquire about events at Foxbury please call 01794 344020.   

If you see any anti social behaviour across the commons—please call the police on 101  

To write into the newsletter and all other enquiries, including volunteering please contact us on or call 01425 650035