HAVE your say on the future of the New Forest – that is the advice to the public from New Forest National Park bosses who are preparing a blueprint for its longterm future.

Officials say that there are 21 projects in the pipeline and cash is in the pot to restore lost habitats, develop countryside skills akin to the New Forest and inspire the next generation to ‘champion’ and look after the ancient woodland and heath.

All the ideas come under the umbrella of a project called Our Past – Our Future.

Ten organisations are involved with the scheme which will see bosses at the Heritage Lottery Fund pump nearly £3 million into it.

This will be used to carry out restoration work on lost habitats, create apprenticeships and work on logging the New Forest’s unique heritage.

Initiatives are expected to be implemented in the five-year period up to 2020.

New Forest Park Authority chiefs are drafting in Welshbased sustainable development consultants, Resources for Change, to carry out research into what activities people like to do in the New Forest, discover how people find out about the national park’s landscape and heritage and also find out what the public would like to see done to help improve information available about the area’s history and terrain.

They would also like to hear about people’s attitudes towards voluntary work in the New Forest.

Resources for Change staff and National Park Rangers will be out and about at various locations in the New Forest including shopping centres throughout the summer months gathering people’s views on the proposals. They will also be at the New Forest Show next week.

Head of environment and rural economy at the New Forest National Park Authority, Paul Walton said it is important people make their views known.

“The results will guide the next phase of Our Past, Our Future project so people from all walks of life can discover and be involved in caring for the New Forest’s heritage,” said Mr Walton.

People can also register their views on line by logging onto newforestnpa.gov.uk/audiencedevelopment.