A NEW campaign to protect wildlife in the New Forest has received a £45,000 boost.

The National Park Authority (NPA) has obtained a grant towards the cost of developing community wildlife plans with the help of parish councils and other organisations.

The plans will identify habitats such as ponds, rivers and woodland – and the species that live in them.

An NPA spokesman said: “The aim is to help residents better understand the importance of where they live and how changes in wildlife management and restoration projects will enhance these areas.

“Godshill, Hordle, Landford, Marchwood , Milford on Sea, New Milton and West Wellow have been chosen as pilot areas.

“In each area community wildlife champions will receive training from a project officer.

“They will work with the Land Advice Service, leading survey work and becoming local experts on natural environment issues.”

The grant has come from the Rural Development Programme for England.

Kathryn Boler, the NPA’s external funding officer, said the project would help residents protect key habitats and species.

“It is a great opportunity for people with an interest in wildlife to get involved and find out what is on their doorstep.”