Godshill Prairie donated to the New Forest National Park Authority


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A meadow in Godshill was secured for nature conservation after it was donated to the New Forest National Park Authority.

Three siblings, who wish to remain anonymous, bequeathed the half-acre meadow to the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) through the New Forest Land Advice Service this year.

The siblings’ grandparents were commoners of the New Forest and the prairie had been in their family since the turn of the 20th century on a small farm. It was originally an apple orchard with beehives, and was also once used to grow food. It has been a meadow for 20 years.

When they offered the meadow, they told the NPA: “It was only later in life that we who lived life in this corner of the New Forest with our grandparents, uncle and our parents, now enjoy the unique privilege of being a part of this culture for a brief period of our lives.

The Land Advice Service (NFLAS), an independent service for the land management community in and around the New Forest, will now take care of the prairie. His plans include laying hedges and coppicing to create thick wild hedges and increase the number of wildflowers.

NPA Wildlife and Conservation Officer and NFLAS Director Julie Melin-Stubbs said, “We are proud and excited to be the stewards of this little piece of the New Forest. Our plan is to manage it in a way that will increase its value to nature, especially hedge birds, wildflowers, butterflies and other insects such as dragonflies, bees, crickets and grasshoppers.

The land will be used to teach rural skills and land management, as well as to support the cattle of commoners. This fall, a young commoner took two donkeys from the forest to graze the meadow.

New Forest volunteers will also visit the prairie to help and learn about mowing, hedge restoration and brush management.

Julie added, “The prairie has a lot to teach us about species and habitats and provides us with a useful venue for some of the courses we run such as hedge, soil and grassland management.

“We are grateful to our donors who trust us to become stewards of this land, an important part of their family heritage, and we look forward to continuing our shared vision of nature and education. ”

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Chris B. Hall

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