Organisations across the south are helping to restore precious habitats in the New Forest while gaining valuable team working skills.

A corporate volunteering programme is helping businesses send their employees out into the great outdoors to undertake practical conservation tasks that benefit their local National Park.

Organised by the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Land Advice Service, the volunteering days help to restore and improve the mosaic of habitats across the New Forest.

After successful events with Bournemouth Water and Southern Co-operative, the latest company to reap the benefits of this scheme is Ordnance Survey.

The mapping organisation brought 11 staff members to Winsor in the north of the New Forest in November.

The group removed overgrown and invasive scrub to open up the site and allow its wildlife-rich grassland to flourish.

This provides vital areas of habitat for wildflowers and insects including bees and butterflies.  

James Morrison from Ordnance Survey said: ‘This was a thoroughly enjoyable day getting back to nature and assisting the National Park Authority in their work to restore an important grassland site.’

These volunteering days are part of a project to help local landowners manage their grassland and heathland more effectively for wildlife.

The Nature’s Stepping Stones project is one of 21 within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme. Run by 11 organisations and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the scheme seeks to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest.

Richard Austin, New Forest National Park Authority volunteer coordinator, said: ‘A range of opportunities are available for corporate groups to get active and help make a difference to their local environment.

A dedicated team of staff are on hand to help with the tasks and provide advice and support throughout the day. Corporate volunteering days directly support our work to ensure the New Forest is protected and enjoyed by all.’

If you would like further information please visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/opofvolunteering

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