Happy 10th Birthday to the New Forest National Park. The traditions of the New Forest go back over 900 years, but we’re still proud to celebrate our 10th Anniversary as a National Park. Why not use this great local news to find out about the purposes of National Parks in the UK.
As a special birthday treat, we’re delighted to share three short wildlife films presented by Simon King (of Springwatch and Big Cat Diary fame). They also make a handy introduction to three of the main habitats of the New Forest, especially if you’re planning some science and ecology work for next term. Or why not listen to Simon’s passionate, well informed commentary and try some persuasive writing of your own.
Simon said: “Ever since I was a child, the New Forest has held an unparalleled magic for me. The remarkable mix of ancient, natural and human history is a compelling cocktail for all lovers of the outdoors.”
Watch the videos online
Wondrous Woodlands (4 mins) showcases the spectacular ancient trees and the wildlife it supports, while explaining the role of New Forest ponies, and the mystery of why the New Forest isn’t all about trees!
Watch Coastal Marvels (3 mins) to find out about the birds you might see, or what creatures you may uncover on a seashore safari at Lepe beach. Listen out for good advice on how to keep safe on your wildlife adventures.
Discover one of the rarest habitats and species in Europe through Majestic Heathlands (3mins38sec). Look out for incredible camouflage of sand lizards and spot ground nesting birds that hide in the heather and gorse. Although it’s worth warning the feint hearted teachers amongst you; there are amazing snakes in this film.
TOP TIP: if you find You tube adverts distracting for your class, try importing videos across into http://quietube.com/
Let us know about the work this inspires your class to create by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org . In the meantime here are 10 birthday facts about the forest to get you started.
10 facts to mark 10 years of the New Forest National Park
- The New Forest was the first National Park to be designated in Britain for nearly 50 years, since the Brecon Beacons in 1957
- Covering an area of only 220 square miles, the New Forest is the second smallest national park in the UK
- In total 56% of the National Park is designated as being of international importance for nature conservation – a far higher proportion than any other UK National Park
- It has the highest concentration of ancient trees in Western Europe, with some yew trees believed to be over 1,000 years old
- The most extensive area of lowland heath remaining in Europe can be found in the New Forest (over 10,000 hectares) – which is rarer than rainforest
- The New Forest is one of the few places in Britain which is home to all six of the UK’s native reptile species and 17 out of 18 UK bat species
- The tallest trees are the coastal redwoods and giant sequoias on Rhinefield Ornamental Drive at about 56 metres (183ft) – that’s taller than Nelson’s Column
- The New Forest has a rich built heritage with 214 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, 610 Listed Buildings and 20 Conservation Areas
- There are more than 500 commoners in the New Forest who turn out more than 9,000 ponies, donkeys, cattle, sheep and pigs as part of their traditional ‘common rights’
- The New Forest National Park receives an estimated 13.5 million visitor days a year.