What will happen to the New Forest ponds? No-one yet seems to know

The New Forest is one of the most important places in Britain, indeed in the whole of western Europe, for its freshwater life.

It has the biggest collection of clean, unpolluted, ponds south of the Scottish Highlands – and streams too – and its one of the last places in England where every pond you visit is likely to contain some wildlife treasure – the way we imagine most ponds to be, but sadly aren’t because of pollution.

In the dirty landscape of England the New Forest’s water is as  much a wonder as its trees.

So its interesting that no-one seem to know what’s going to happen to the open parts of the Forest, the heaths, bogs, streams and ponds, which is run by yes, you guessed it, the Forestry Commission.

You can’t sell the open bits: they belong to the Queen. So who’s going to keep an eye on them? Is that still the Forestry Commission?  Will they just sell the woods they own (they don’t even own all the woods in the Forest – some are private) and carry on managing the heaths and bogs when there are no trees to give them the excuse? Will it ultimately be the case that nothing much changes at all? And what about the commoners – the Verderers, as they are known.

It sounds like a muddle. Now this isn’t such a bad thing, because muddle and untidiness quite often protects nature.

Let’s hope that the 1000 year old complexity of the New Forest – in which the rights of commoners have been fiercely defended against all kinds of big powerful interests (Kings, foresters, enthusiasts for enclosure of open land, big companies) – will be its real protection.

 

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5 Responses to “What will happen to the New Forest ponds? No-one yet seems to know”

  1. Neil Says:

    Fingers crossed! The fact that a member of the cabinet (Vince Cable) has publicly stated the ancient woodland of the forest should not be sold off should help, after all he has a house there. Mind you the lib dems recent record suggests say one thing and do another…
    The protected status of things like the southern damselfly and tadpole shrimps will hopefully protect the areas with them in, limited though they are. I live in hope!

  2. jonspond Says:

    we also have smooth snakes, sand lizards and great crested newts all are protected – well when no fires are set by the FC – and so should restrict forestry operations

    the most important areas are away from the woodlands though aren’t they?

  3. Neil Says:

    here is the story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8083706/Vince-Cable-New-Forest-must-be-protected.html

  4. Flying Ants Says:

    Yes and I was hugely encouraged the other night watching ‘This Week’. Portillo said in his opinion they will definitely back track on this cos some things just aren’t worth the fight. He compared it to all the flack the Tories got for introducing museum charges, ie the savings made are so minimal for the amount of anger it produces in all areas of society. Apparently the Royals are right against it 🙂 I remain hopeful the sell off won’t happen

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