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 enabled work on the massive task of removing the commercial woodland, along with invasive birch and rhododendron.
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. In 2014 we helped with the planting of native trees (except birch) and have been back to give them some TLC.
2017 and 2018. There's much to do here to keep the birch under control and get the heather to thrive. We used tree-poppers on the smaller ones, and more traditional cutting and treating on the larger ones. Our cleared area can be seen to the left of the people.
In February we will be clearing birch with tree-poppers.
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.