Help us protect the New Forest’s roadside habitats

Nick Wardlaw, HLS Contract Manager at the Forestry Commission, introduces an exciting job opportunity to help us protect important habitat in the New Forest.

As its name suggests, the Forestry Commission is best known for its forestry work, but in the New Forest a great deal of effort is being put into conservation. This involves improving the quality of the Crown lands that we manage and working with others to deliver conservation benefit for plants and wildlife.

The team that I manage undertakes a range of projects to restore wetland habitats and improve the grazing for the ponies and cattle that roam free across the landscape here in the New Forest.  The New Forest Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Scheme funds these projects that support the ancient system of commoning – it’s part of a 10-year agreement with Natural England and is held by the Verderers of the New Forest and managed by them in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the New Forest National Park Authority.

This week we’ve just started recruiting for a newly created role that will help to conserve our grass verges in the New Forest, which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, giving them national importance for nature conservation.

This post is a fixed-term appointment working in the New Forest to engage with local communities to protect its unique habitats. It’s a vital opportunity to conserve these fragile habitats and support the commoning community, and help build resilience into long term management of this important landscape.

You may be surprised to know that vehicle damage can cause harmful impact to grass verges and can badly affect the landscape, ecological and grazing value of the area. By renewing ditches and banks we are taking preventative measures to help these roadside habitats to flourish.

This new post will be working with my team to protect the New Forest’s habitats and grazing from the damaging impacts of unauthorised driving and parking along road verges.

So if you are a good team player and have experience of working with local communities we have a great new opportunity for you here at the Forestry Commission. You’ll be working with parish councils in the area and other stakeholders to drive forward programmes of verge protection for villages on the Crown Lands.

A typical day will include attending a consultation meeting with key stakeholders to agree a compromise at a location, followed by a site visit in the forest to monitor parking, and review whether a parking license exists. With the support of experienced staff at the Forestry Commission, you’ll plan the delivery of verge restoration works, liaising directly with householders to stop parking on the open forest.

The HLS project aims to build on the success of the recent works around the village of Woodgreen and we’re now approaching other parishes to help identify areas of erosion that could be restored under this project in the future.

We hope to restore and protect the edges of the forest to prevent urbanisation and the damaging impacts of unauthorised parking along roadside habitats.

Apply or get more information.