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Lasting legacy for forest

A multimillion-pound scheme for the New Forest has drawn to a close, leaving a legacy of connected communities and thriving wildlife.

The Our Past, Our Future (OPOF) Landscape Partnership Scheme undertook 21 projects to restore lost habitats, develop skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest.

Led by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) in partnership with ten other organisations, the £4.4 million scheme was launched in 2015 and focused on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

Achievements of The OPOF include:

* More than 210ha of habitat has been restored.

* Flora is thriving and attracting more wildlife at newly-managed woodlands.

* Flowers are flourishing on riverbanks where non-native plants were removed.

* Foxbury has been transformed with 20,000 new trees.

* 21,000 wildlife sightings were recorded at selected sites.

* The local community got involved in OPOF, forging new connections, discovering heritage and learning new skills.

* Three wild play areas have been created.

* An archive of New Forest photos, maps and memories is now at nfknowledge.org.

* 108 historic monuments have been restored.

* A Bronze Age monument dating back more than 4,000 years was revealed.

Patrick Heneghan, OPOF Chairman, thanked the organisations which have provided funding, partners who have led the various projects and all the community volunteers who turned out to do much of the physical work.

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