Blackhill Road, near West Wellow
Grid Ref. GR SU298177 : Blackhill Road car park
SO51 6AQ approx.
Client: National Trust, New Forest Northern Commons
This covers 459 acres and is named after a series of steep hills, which would be obvious without all the trees. Acquired in 1979, it is one of the historic Bramshaw Commons now owned by the National Trust. Ownership has eased the conflicts of interest which have affected other parts of the New Forest. We have had one task here, helping to clear pine, birch and rhododendron, and another planting trees.
To the north-east of Half Moon Common is Foxbury Plantation, 370 acres of coniferous woodland with a dense understorey of rhododendron. The trust acquired it in 2005 with a grant from GrantScape, who distribute income from landfill taxes. Funds from Natural England have enabled work to start on the massive task of removing the commercial woodland, along with invasive birch. The aim over the next ten years is to restore the heathland and native broadleaved woodland present in the 19th century, at which point the term Plantation could be dropped. Rhododendron has invaded the site to the detriment of its associated wildlife. There are fine views over the forest and out to Southampton.
In November we will be clearing birch.
Meet at 10 am in the car park on the south side of Blackhill Road, about 800 metres south of the A36 Southampton to Salisbury road, near West Wellow. We may be moving from the car park nearer to the task. Look out for our yellow flags.