What is it about?
Foxbury is a 150 hectare heathland restoration site located in the north of the New Forest, near East Wellow and in close proximity to Southampton. The site was a commercial conifer plantation, but the National Trust are now slowly restoring it to its 19th century lowland heathland and mixed deciduous woodland habitat.
As well as restoring priority habitats for the Forest, this project will increase recreational and educational opportunities on a well-managed site, benefitting the more fragile habitats of the nearby Commons which are under increasing pressure.
The project will:
- Improve access through the creation of a carpark, shelter and toilet
- Increase biodiversity and the opportunity for protective designation of the site (e.g. SSSI status) through creation of 26 hectares of deciduous woodland
- Improve access to woodland, wetland and the pond, including the creation of a new play area
- Improve information and interpretation to promote better understanding of the Forest’s habitats (this will include creating a visitor information facility, interpretation boards, audio, tactile and British Sign Language interpretation, leaflets, guide books, and running 60 visitor events, 30 guided walks and an open day)
- Create a new learning space to enable engagement with schools, community groups etc.
- Recruit and involve new volunteers with the aim of utilising 510 volunteer days on site
- Provide 480 apprentice hours of on-site working
- Create charcoal production and local timber sales to maintain the sustainability of the project
- Offset the recreational pressure of the adjacent commons and manage effectively on-site as the local urban population grows
- Improve the landscape value for neighbours and residents in the community, with increased opportunity for improved access to site
- Deliver on-site interpretation and a regular programme of events and activities.
Volunteering and training
Volunteers and community groups are instrumental to the success of this project. The woodland planting scheme in particular, will require a high level of support from community groups. The project will target existing volunteers wanting to try something new, community groups and locals wanting to impact and be part of their immediate landscapes, as well as families or individuals from the urban fringes interested in ‘drop in event days’. Local schools and scout groups will also be approached to help care for their landscape with a view to creating long term ambassadors of our work.
All volunteer training will be ‘informal’ and will be conducted on location as the work is undertaken. We will seek every opportunity to further develop the skills of our volunteers through additional training and learning opportunities. More formal training will be undertaken for the apprentice positions, who will work closely with experienced staff to build their skill set and confidence.
Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.
The project will leave a lasting legacy, with the most significant aspect being a long term, diverse and sustainable woodland that is a responsibly managed destination of choice for outdoor activities. The project will produce long term ambassadors for our work and the Forest, in addition to future sustainability and shared knowledge opportunities.
A ‘Friends of Foxbury’ group will be established to ensure that the landscape and community value of the site is realised longer term.
Dylan Everett – Countryside Operations Manager, National Trust
Tel: 01794 340757 ext. 203 or mobile: 07977 060682