Hampshire/ Test Valley / Southampton – The Forest Park Framework Call to Action

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  • Hampshire/ Test Valley / Southampton – The Forest Park Framework Call to Action
  • Here is a link to what they are proposing : http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/resident/planningandbuildingcontrol/planningpolicy/local-development-framework/draft-green-infrastructure/

    My Summary – Take over Lordswood, Hut Wood, Nightingale Wood and Home Wood to create a big managed park. Good idea. Each woodland will have its own management plan with access to all. Good idea. They will encourage riders, walkers, families etc. Good idea.

    My Idea – Reduce contention between different types of users by focussing different woods on different groups – Lordswood to be the main Activity Focussed wood.

    What I want from you If you think what I describe (at length) below is a good idea please send an email to planningpolicy@testvalley.gov.uk saying you support the idea of Lordswood being an Activity Focussed Woodland as outlined by Nick Clark. BEFORE MARCH 10th so today please 🙂

    What I have proposed What I emailed the committee
    Regarding the Forest Park Framework

    I would like to propose the management of Lordswood as an activity based woodland within the Forest Park Framework.


    There are a number of compelling reasons for Lordswood to become an activity focussed woodland that I shall detail below. Key to all proposals is ensuring they match the stated objectives of the Forest Park Framework. This proposal is based on light touch management returning a disproportionate level of benefit and value. I will first to explain why Lordswood, out of all of the possible locations, should be chosen as the activity based woodlands and indeed why an activity based woodland is required.

    Why and Activity Based Woodland and Why Lordswood?

    The Forest Park Framework suggests that the proposed park should cater for the whole spectrum of possible users. I whole heartedly endorse this and believe all woods should be open to all people. There are however the practicalities of what different people want from their visits to the Forest Park. There are lots of possibilities for conflict between different user groups but these can be managed by focussing different areas for different interests. Anyone can go anywhere but you create different areas that appeal more to different groups. This way all possible conflicts are reduced and each area is best suited to their wants and needs. Areas for ecological conservation, family groups with dogs and horse or bike riders are best established in separate areas.

    Having established that runners, horse riders, orienteerers and mountain bikers require a different woodland management strategy to that for families with children and dogs or plant and bird watchers it is necessary to consider which woodland is best suited. At this point I must profess that you will have probably seen more detail on most of the woods than I have. I know that Hut wood offers nice family walking and that Lordswood has an established network of bike and active walking trails. I suspect that Nightingale Wood and Home wood have far more established and less disturbed ecosystems. From this understanding I would suggest that Hut Wood is focussed on families and dog walkers with Nightingale Wood and Home Wood are focussed on ecology.

    Lordswood has a number of key features that can be considered either benefits or problems depending on the perspective. There is steep terrain making walking and riding difficult or fun depending on your perspective. There are boggy and difficult areas which are problems or challenges depending on your perspective. There is constant noise pollution from the motorway which has little benefit but is less of a problem to people involved in active pursuits than those looking for tranquillity with their dogs and families. The final point I would like to raise at the moment is the ongoing vandalism and intrusion from motorbikes and stolen mopeds. There are no benefits from these but it may be possible to manage these into designated areas where they cause the minimum disruption if we cannot remove the issue completely.

    What is the Proposal?

    Lordswood Activity Based Woodland – We welcome all – Put more in and get more out!

    A Skeleton, Arteries and Veins – Right management at the right level

    • There are the existing fire roads within Lordswood. These are required for the Forestry activities which will not be disturbed. They will form the skeleton of routes through the woodlands and also provide the best surfaced trails for casual and family cycling groups.

    • Beneath these in terms of capacity and condition are the arterial pathways that are wide enough for horses to ride along, two cyclists in parallel or a group of runners.

    • Beneath that are the veins of single track routes that can only take one person or bike at a time.

    The fire roads are currently maintained by the Forestry Commission to allow proper woodland management. The Arteries are partially maintained but could be improved. The vein routes need no maintenance or management as they evolve and change over time through normal use.

    Having established the relative status of the paths through the woodlands we need to consider what to do with the facility. I have discussed this with a number of different groups and there is great excitement at the possibilities. The key finding I have made are that most people want as few changes as possible. There is a general dislike of the motorbikes and mopeds and level of general vandalism which is not surprising.

    The positive feedback was that mountain bikers would like to be allowed to continue to develop some of their own trails (vein trails), walkers would like some better drainage on the pathways (arteries), horse riders would like less dogs running free, orienteerers would like special markers to find.

    The requirements are, therefore, better drainage put into a few trails and a number of orienteering markers. This is a slight understatement but a good starting point from which to begin our discussions.


    I have sent this to you and other councillors for review and discussion. I will be socialising the concept with a number of other groups who may be interested so there may be further correspondence you receive. I hope you will take the weight of feeling into account at future discussions. I am happy for you to contact me either regarding this communication or as a Subject Matter Expert.



    Will do 🙂


    i have done so, and asked others to, too. 🙂

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    Book marked for a proper read later.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    Have only skimmed WCA but looks as though you’ve done a great job there.

    Can I just pick up on something? As you know, I’ve only been to LW a couple of times and remember hearing motorbikes. Surely it should be encouraged that provision is made for them as it would then keep them away from other users?

    Will have a good read later!

    Edited to add that it doesn’t look as though there are any byways for them to use but that shouldn’t be a reason for ignoring them.


    Done, as per request.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Book marked for a proper read later.

    +1 – but from first read I’ll be sending an email

    As I went for a first ride around Hamble on Saturday I now consider myself a fully signed up Hampshire rider 😳

    Jambalaya – Join the Thursday night slow ride. We meet around 7pm at the end of Coxford Rd and you can get a guided tour in the dark. If you want to see where you are going drop me a mail and we can hook up on a Sunday morning.

    cinnamon_girl – Re motorbikes. I agree that there should be a provision for them if possible. Unfortunately this appears to be a radical and unpopular view so I don’t want to head line it in case it derails the rest. I have hinted at it though ‘ it may be possible to manage these into designated areas where they cause the minimum disruption

    Premier Icon richen987

    Good work Nic, if even half that happens will be good. Have sent an email.


    I’ll bring this up at tonight’s cycling forum at the civic centre.

    Please do Rich – spread the word!

    If anyone can get non-cyclist involved that will be good too!

    Premier Icon FieldMarshall

    Top work WCA.

    Given that the woods are privately owned does the proposal only cover cycling on gravel tracks or proper trails?

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    WCA – OK, thanks. To me it seems daft to please everyone else but exclude MXers. If they were consulted with and agreement was reached on an area specifically for them to use then there is a chance of them staying away from different users.

    If they’re a bone of contention in the woods then surely the question must be asked ‘why?’

    Donkey’s years ago they were chucked out of an area the other side of Swinley Forest where they were not in anybody’s way. Provision was made for them some distance away from their usual entrance point. Did it get used? Hardly, they ended up worse off so they rode on the more interesting single track instead.

    FieldMarshall – The whole of the woods is up for grabs. They are trying to change the lease agreement or acquire the land. The down side of this is that they will probably have to sell an area off the woods for development to pay for it. The good news is that not that much of Lordswood is suitable for development.

    C G – The main problem isn’t proper MXers but stolen mopeds. They get nicked from the local estate and ragged to death in the woods before being torched. Mainly happens during the school holidays. A sanctioned area may help the MXers but I suspect it would end up like the one at Swinley. It is a difficult one to solve.


    Done – fond memories of Lordswood.

    Premier Icon brassneck

    Done – for the first time I’ve found a use for ‘I pay my council tax..’

    Never ridden there but good luck, maybe it’s worth a 30 minute drive sometime!

    Email sent.

    Premier Icon StefMcDef

    Email sent. Lordswood is ace – hope it stays that way.


    I’ll take a proper read tonight.

    I’m sure I remember finding a paper from the council online about setting Lordswood up as a country park in 2010. I can only find a copy of the map on my harddrive sadly not the whole paper.

    I would volunteer my time to be on the committee / lobbying group if you need people.

    I thought the skeleton / veins stuff is a bit odd but I get what you are trying to get across.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    Apologies WCA, didn’t realise it was mopeds. Guilty of not responding to this so shall get my ar$e in gear.


    C G – The main problem isn’t proper MXers but stolen mopeds. They get nicked from the local estate and ragged to death in the woods before being torched. Mainly happens during the school holidays. A sanctioned area may help the MXers but I suspect it would end up like the one at Swinley. It is a difficult one to solve.

    Sometimes they don’t even need a moped to torch things – was riding down one of the trails last year and a delightful youth was setting a fire in the middle of it “cus he was bored” – I helped him to put it out, and sent him packing….

    My representations have been acknowledged!

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Thank you for your comment on the Forest Park Implementation Framework (draft) January 2014

    These are being considered by Officers and will be reported to Councillors later this year.

    You will be notified when this will take place.

    Yours faithfully

    Planning Policy Team

    Just thought I would update you on this. Full details on link (http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/resident/planningandbuildingcontrol/planningpolicy/forest-park/

    but summary below

    Nothing is happening any time soon

    7.5 The provision of the Forest Park is likely to be achieved over a long period of
    time, extending beyond the plan period of 2029. It is likely to be achieved in
    phases linked to the rate and scale of development. It will also be influenced
    by unforeseen opportunities which may present themselves from time to time.
    7.6 Three broad phases falling within the plan period have been identified
    comprising; one 2014-19, two 2019 – 24 and three 2024 – 29. A further phase
    post 2029 to 2036 looks beyond the plan period.
    7.7 The key elements of phase one are;
    • Fields Copse: subject to rates of completion and in accordance with the
    legal agreement, seek to agree and implement the management plan for
    Fields Copse
    • Nightingale Wood: seek to agree the securing of public access to the
    woodland and develop a management plan, and subject to funds
    commence implementation
    • Home Wood: seek to agree the securing of public access to the woodlands
    and agree a management plan, implementation would seek to take
    account of the phasing of development to the south of Chestnut Avenue
    7.8 The key elements of phase two are;
    • Fields Copse, Nightingale Wood and Home Wood: subject to the
    completion of matters set out in phase one, continue to implement the
    management plans and keep them under review
    • Hut Wood: develop draft proposals for a management plan, secure public
    access and subject to funds commence implementation
    7.9 The key elements of phase three are;
    • Rownhams Plantation: develop draft proposals for a management plan
    and subject to funds secure public access and commence implementation
    • Lordswood: develop draft proposals for a management plan, secure public
    access and subject to funds commence implementation
    • Review the implementation of existing management plans
    7.10 The key elements of phase four are;
    • To complete delivery of public access and implement the proposals in the
    management plans


    Sorry to resurrect such an old thread but I was reminded of the forest park when reading this blog: https://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/natural-character/

    Although it may be a long time before the Forest Park is established, there is one thing that could happen much sooner. There is a right of way from Coxford road to Chilworth which could form an important part of local cycling infrastructure. This RoW is level, direct and useful. It is very likely to be upgraded by HCC to a restricted byway. Before signs and narrow gates were installed by the land owner in the 1990s, hundreds of cyclists used to use this route for commuting.

    I would really like to so the surface upgraded so that anyone can use it – not just someone on a mountain bike with a shower and change of clothes at his destination (see points made by Mark Treasure in linked blog above). It would only take a narrow strip of hard surface with appropriate drainage and protection. How to achieve this? Are Sustrans interested in such projects?


    Has anything actually happened with this? If anything the FC have become more militant deliberately putting tree fell across trails and generally doing their best to put bikers off being there. I was told off this year by a ranger one of the rare times I did a lunch time ride. First time ive seen a ranger there in 15 odd years of riding there. Didn’t sound like the forest was going to be opened up to the public this lifetime.

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