Free Exhibition To Explore The Forest's Past, Present And Future

  • Written by Editor

Explore the Forest’s past, present and futureHow can trees help us discover the New Forest’s long and fascinating history? And how did a nine year old boy, 800 years ago, help shape the place we know and love today?

Families can explore the New Forest’s woods and trees at a special exhibition for all ages, and celebrate its involvement in a national event launching in November.

The free exhibition is organised by the New Forest National Park Authority and includes works from this year’s New Forest Arts Festival by hArt, Forest Forge Theatre Company and Forest Arts. It is open daily between 10am and 3.30pm from Saturday 14 October 2017 until Sunday 14 January 2018 at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the Charter of the Forest and watch a unique animation created with the help of visitors to the National Park Authority’s stand at the New Forest Show.

A ‘Tree of Life’ provides a creative space for people to add their favourite memories and stories of the Forest’s trees and woods to celebrate this special area. Their memories, stories and wishes for the future of the National Park will join the hundreds of other leaves added by people as it travelled around the National Park as part of the New Forest Arts Festival earlier this year.

There is also an exclusive ‘audio-composition’ for visitors listen to, created by local artist Deborah Gearing following her residency at the Observatory at Buckler’s Hard as part of the Arts Festival.

Gareth Owen Interpretation and Outreach Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘November 6 2017 is the 800th anniversary of the issuing of the Charter of the Forest by the boy king Henry III in 1217. This document changed how people interacted with Forests including the New Forest and was the starting point for some fundamental rights that still underpin the modern New Forest. In recognition of this important historical event, the theme for the exhibition has been trees, woods and people and we challenged artists of this year’s New Forest Arts Festival to explore these topics in their work.

‘The New Forest National Park Authority is also supporting the new national Charter for Woods, Trees and People planned to be issued this November as we believe that people of the UK have a right to the many benefits brought by trees and woods. The new charter will recognise, celebrate and protect this right.’

Discover more about the Charter of the Forest and the National Park’s role in the upcoming Charter for Trees, Woods and People at

This exhibition is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme, led by the Authority in partnership with 10 key organisations, undertaking 21 projects across the New Forest.

More information about the Our Past, Our Future scheme can be found online at