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6th August – Club Challenge and New Forest talk

24 August, 2018

Club challenge and Talk on the history of the New Forest

We had 48 members attend with 2 new members and 3 honorary members (under 18) giving us 53 in total on the night. New members are Peter Draper from Southampton and Stuart Morgan from Lee on Solent. A good turnout considering the very hot weather and holiday period.

As the title suggests the evening was in two parts, firstly the Club Challenge to turn something incorporating a material other than wood. An ideal opportunity to try one of the themes from our previous three meetings gilding, lacing or resin filler.  And secondly an illustrated talk by Richard Duponte about Management of the New Forest.

The Challenge attracted an excellent range of entries, one or two which initially prompted the question “where is the other material?” most of which were resolved by closer inspection for example one item had been gilded on the underside of the edge, which wasn’t apparent until it was picked up. Members had until the break to inspect the entries and then submit their 1st, 2nd & 3rd place votes into the ballot box, this said voting was concluded very quickly and John Holden was able to collate the results in good time for Lynda Barkaway to produce the certificates in her usual hand calligraphed style during the tea break. Results to follow below.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Richard Duponte, a Ranger in the New Forest who has a wide knowledge of the forest current and past. Richard’s talk took us on an illustrated whistle stop tour of the history of the forest from its early uses right up to the current management of what is now a National Park. The talk was accompanied by a large selection of projected slides. I think it safe to say that the majority of the audience were not only well entertained but also learned quite a few things that they did not know beforehand. The New Forest has never been a forest in the way that we generally use the name today, it was actually placed under “Forest Law” by William the Conqueror i.e. an area set aside for the sole use of the King in pursuit of his hunting activities. There are probably more trees there now than in William’s time.

The large stock of Oak and Beech currently to be found were planted in the early 1800’s initially planned to be used in ship building for the Royal Navy.

In 1949 following the reduction in stock during the two world wars, 5000 acres of open forest land were set aside for new pine plantations known as “Verderers Enclosures” which continue to be harvested to this day, these are then being returned to open heath land. Richard continued his presentation with a brief introduction to his current project which is the New Forest Reptile Centre, located two miles to the west of Lyndhurst where Specially created display enclosures allow you to study these animals in close-up. They have the only collection of all the native lizards, snakes, frogs and toads, including Britain’s only venomous snake – the adder – and rarest lizard – the sand lizard.

Richard then answered question form the audience, before receiving a warm round of applause.



We then moved onto the Challenge results and presentation of certificates, Dave Gibbard announced the results in traditional reverse order

3rd           Tom James                         Metal rose on a wooden Base and Glass dome

2nd          Dave Simpson                   Infilled bowl using an acrylic pen blank

1st           Mike Hasleden                  Multi-Offset turned bowl with inlaid Milliput and wooden ball in the centre

We now look forward to September’s meeting with the inimitable Adrian Smith returning to complete his presentation from last year.

Andi Saunders

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