On the afternoon of Thursday 11 May, conference delegates will have the opportunity to go on a field trip to the beautiful New Forest National Park. The field trip to the New Forest will centre on the capital of the forest, the village of Lyndhurst. This is where Forestry England – the State agents responsible for managing the forest – have their headquarters and the Verderers of the New Forest, who regulate the livestock grazing, hold their monthly court.
The trip will be leaving Southampton with pick-ups near the Leonardo hotels and at the University’s Highfield Campus. We hope to schedule pick-ups from Highfield Campus at 14.00 with hotel pick-ups at around 13.30 and 13.45. The journey to Lyndhurst will take about 45 minutes as we will be taking a tour with commentary through the forest.
During the trip we will have the opportunity to take in this area of natural beauty, with its rich biodiversity and (free-roaming) wildlife (including ponies!), and learn more about the ancient practice of commoning. Weather permitting, it is hoped to take a walk through the forest so do bring suitable walking shoes and clothing. Once in Lyndhurst we will be based at Lyndhurst Community Centre where there will be talks by key forest experts, as well as an opportunity for tea and coffee.
We hope there will also be time to explore Lyndhurst and the immediately-surrounding forest. We will have to split into groups as there are quite a lot of us!
- Folk may want to take a guided walk in the surrounding forest (bring suitable clothing);
- some may want to visit the charming church with a Pre-Raphaelite fresco, some wonderful stained-glass windows by William Morris and a connection to Alice in Wonderland.
- we may be able to visit the Verderers’ Court but no promises as it depends on staff availability.
- others may prefer some retail therapy in some eclectic shops which include a Ferrari garage, antique shops, a shop called Paws in the Forest.
- there is also a heritage centre with more detailed information on the forest.
Nearer the time we will be asking for your preferences so we can plan accordingly.
We will return to Southampton – in time for the welcome reception – by coach and again, if we have time, taking a circular route, with commentary, through another part of the forest.