New Forest Catchment Projects

The New Forest Catchment Partnership has been undertaking project work in the New Forest to protect and restore our amazing freshwater and coastal habitats.

The New Forest catchment covers over 300 square kilometers of protected landscape, forestry, farmland, parkland and urban environments. It includes, around a dozen individual rivers, streams and their tributaries flowing south and east  to The Solent and Southampton Water; 2 notable lakes (greater than 2ha in size); many hundreds of ponds (less than 2ha in size), and a continuous band of coastal and estuarine habitats.

On the Open Forest (historically the domain of the New Forest Commoners, with ancient ‘Forest Rights’), the varied nature and exceptionally high quality of the headwater streams and ponds is reflected in the number of species they support and their importance for nature conservation. The New Forest is one of the best and most important freshwater and coastal landscapes in the UK.

Conserving these habitats brings about its own set of challenges, but also huge opportunities, for delivering real biodiversity gains which cannot be achieved elsewhere in a heavily modified and intensively managed lowland England. 

The overarching aims of the New Forest Catchment project work are:

To protect the best: Raising awareness of the special nature of the New Forest’s freshwater and coastal habitats and the need for sustainable strategies to mitigate stressors on these environments now and in the future.

Building out: Supporting local communities and businesses to reduce the number and frequency of direct and diffuse sources of nutrient pollution in the catchment, and, mitigating the impact of  historic interventions which have caused freshwaters to become disconnected along their length, and disconnected from coastal and floodplain habitats.

To work in partnership: Making best use of limited resources and utilising the collective experience and expertise of individuals and organisations working in and around the New Forest.

These aims embody the principles of Freshwater Habitats Trust’s vision:

  • To target work where it will be most effective
  • To gather evidence of what needs to be done and what works
  • To demonstrate best practice.

To this end we are compiling a series of case studies of project work in the New Forest, which you can read here: