A GODSHILL meadow has been secured for nature conservation after it was gifted to the New Forest National Park Authority.
Measuring a half acre, it borders the open Forest and features oak and ash trees, hazel hedges, scrub and a small brook. It will be used as a venue to teach countryside skills and land management, as well as to support commoners’ livestock.
Three siblings, who wanted to remain anonymous and no longer live locally, bequeathed the meadow to the NPA through the New Forest Land Advice Service (NFLAS) this year.
Their grandparents were New Forest commoners and it had been in their family since the early 20th century as part of a small holding. It was originally an apple orchard with bee hives, once used to grow food, and has been grassland for the last 20 years.
When gifting the meadow they told the NPA: “It is only in later life do we, who experienced life in this corner of the New Forest with our grandparents, uncle and parents, now appreciate what a unique privilege it was to be part of this culture for a brief period in our lives.”
To maintain the land the NFLAS, an independent service for the local land managing community, plans hedge laying and coppicing to create thick wild hedgerows and increase wildflowers.
Julie Melin-Stubbs, NPA wildlife and conservation manager and NFLAS manager, said: ‘We are proud and excited to become the guardians of this little piece of the New Forest.
“Our plan is to manage it in a way which will enhance its value for nature, particularly hedgerow birds, wildflowers, butterflies and other insects such as dragonflies, bees, crickets and grasshoppers.”
“The meadow has a lot to teach us about species and habitats and gives us a useful venue for some of the courses we run, such as hedgerow, soil and grassland management.
“We are grateful to our donors who are trusting us to become custodians of this land, a significant part of their family heritage, and look forward to pursuing our shared vision of nature and education.”