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Our work at the Foxbury restoration project

Tree surgery, foxbury, work, volunteering, hampshire
Tree management at Foxbury in the summer, Bramshaw Commons and Foxbury, Hampshire. | © National Trust Images/John Millar

After years as a commercial conifer plantation, the 350-acre Foxbury site is gradually being restored to its natural state of lowland heathland and native broad-leafed woodland habitats. The aim of the restoration project is to bring the area back to lowland heathland and reconnect it with the rest of the New Forest. This is National Trust’s biggest heathland restoration project in England.

Clearing invasive species

Since 2005, management work has revolved around removing a large majority of the pine trees and invasive rhododendron, plus controlling birch saplings. This leaves native broad-leafed trees and allows the gorse, heather, wildflowers, native trees and shrubs to re-establish.

Life at Foxbury

Along with establishing lowland heathland, some 18,000 trees have been planted on the site to create native broadleaved woodland, support thousands of wildlife species and ensure a sustainable future for Foxbury.

A herd of Belted Galloway cattle and three New Forest ponies also graze on the site to keep the grasses and saplings at bay.

So far, there has been great success with heathland wildlife here, including breeding pairs of nightjar and Dartford warbler, reptiles such as common lizards and adders, as well as a diverse array of insects, such as green hairstreak butterflies.

Foxbury's woodland and pastures
Cows grazing at Foxbury | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Working with partners

First and foremost, Foxbury is a site of conservation. The site was acquired in 2005 through Grantscape funding and access remains by invitation only. However, there are regular events here and the site can also be hired.

The site has more than four miles of wide all-weather gravel pathways, meaning walking, cycling and horse riding activities don’t cause damage to the establishing lowland heathland habitats or wildlife.

Foxbury is also part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project called ‘Our Past, Our Future’ in the New Forest, which is funding tree planting and helping to build new infrastructure within the area that facilitates educational and recreational activities. 

National Trust has been given a grant to fund its woodland planting and improve infrastructure within Foxbury to facilitate educational and recreational activities, with an aim to connect with local communities and take pressure off the open forest.

Wide shot of two volunteers walking up a hillside from left to right with blue sky behind

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