A Community Archaeology Resource Review

One of the flints found during 2018 excavation. Credit NFNPA

Across the New Forest like the UK, many volunteers and community groups undertake their own archaeological research and fieldwork.
Last year, the Authority commissioned Oxford Archaeology to identify and review guidance resources readily accessible to volunteers and community groups undertaking their own archaeological investigations. The research was undertaken as part of the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Heritage Fund). The results of the research are now released and published online.

The results demonstrate that there is a demand for simple ‘how-to’ guides with signposting to more detailed information produced by well-recognised and easily identifiable sources. The extent of knowledge exchange and local adaption of guidance resources has probably been underestimated, and indicates that the professional archaeological sector needs to do more to understand and aid the transfer of accurate, reliable and user-friendly information amongst community volunteer archaeologists.

Over three hundred and fifty archaeological guidance resources have been identified indicating that there is already a large amount of material readily available on a wide range of topics. However, there are some notable gaps in guidance materials, particularly on running projects and reporting and disseminating the results. There is an issue of knowing what has already been produced and searching for it. There are also some notable gaps in guidance materials, particularly on running projects and reporting and disseminating the results.

Online, there is a tendency not to refer to specific sources of guidance but to use Internet search engines to find information, although it should not be presumed that use of social media platforms and other online services is universal. Many community volunteer archaeologists still like to have written notes to accompany electronic media such as videos, and want to refer to hard copies of information when collecting data or taking a break from using screens.

There has been limited evaluation of the extent, use and impact of these resources prior to this study. This review has not involved ranking or critiquing existing guidance but getting an understanding of what exists, what is accessible and what volunteers and community groups engage with. It is hoped that this review will be of interest to the wider archaeological sector and help to inform the creation of new resources in the future.

The full report and supplementary documents can be downloaded from OA’s online library here: https://library.thehumanjourney.net/4636/

For more information about the resource review please contact: community@oxfordarch.co.uk or 01223 850515

A new website for Milford

Congratulations to Milford-On-Sea Historical Records Society on the launch of their new website:  www.milfordhistory.org.

Explore their history pages, read about Milford down the ages; from houses to jobs, from education to religion, from families to personalities. Search their archives for records from the past and find house deeds, wills, old maps and even ration books. Look through this window on to the past. You can also find information on their meeting, events and publications.

MOSHRS were supported by Heritage Lottery funding to digitise their archive and build this wonderful new site, so once again thanks to all of you who buy lottery tickets and congratulations MOSHRS. Great work!

Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library Open Day Saturday 11 November 2017

The New Forest’s past can be discovered at the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library’s Open Day on Saturday 11 November. Situated on the first floor of the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, the facility was opened in 2004 following the building’s renovation funded by the Heritage Lottery and the Christopher Tower Foundation.


Christopher Tower, who was educated at Eton Christ Church, Oxford, was the author of nine poetry books and travelled extensively in the Middle East. He spent his later years in Athens and the New Forest.


The Library contains one of the largest collections of books, maps, photographs, reports and ephemera on the Forest, available to the public in a single location. It is also home of the Ecademy Project, one half of the team behind New Forest Knowledge.


As it is Armistice Day, the recently acquired Simmons collection of WW1 photographs, medals and ephemera relating to East Boldre airbase will be on display along with other sources on the subject. The WW1 aerodrome at East Boldre first started in May 1910 as the New Forest Flying School, the second flying school in the UK. The site then became a RFC and then an RAF base during WWI.


Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help with enquiries in the Library between 10am and 3pm when members of the public are invited to drop in. There is no need to book.


“We have held several successful library open days in the past year and plan to make these a regular occurrence” said Centre Manager, Hilary Marshall. “I hope our visitors will take advantage of this opportunity to explore this wonderful historical resource.”

Commoning Conference 29 Oct 2018

New Forest Knowledge Conference 2018

The Role of Commoning in the Maintenance of Landscape and Ecology: A New Forest, National and Global Perspective.


Date: Monday 29th October 2018, 9:30am-5pm.

Venue: Lyndhurst Community Centre, Lyndhurst  SO43 7NY

Price: £15


Commoning is recognised as important in the survival of the New Forest: a prized reserve for endangered species and a beautiful landscape enjoyed for recreation.

The New Forest commoning system has been described as unique in North Western Europe, characterised by the exercise of common rights by 700 commoners.

This conference will consider the use and significance of common pool resources from a historical, local, national and international perspective. Speakers include researchers from HIWWT, Foundation for Common Land, University of Southampton and Community Research Institute.

Conference programme 2018

Click here to purchase tickets

Organisers reserve the right to make changes to the programme.

Community Archaeology Resource Review

Volunteers at Creek Cottages. Credit: NFNPA

Can you help us?

In the UK, many volunteers and community groups undertake their own archaeological research and fieldwork.

As part of the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the New Forest National Park Authority has commissioned Oxford Archaeology to review the guidance that people refer to when undertaking self-guided archaeological work. These ‘how to’ guides might be about identifying, researching and recording archaeological sites and finds and may be in the form of textbooks, digital or printed media.

At this stage, we are looking to identify guidance materials produced for or used by volunteers and community groups. We are also interested in any reports which evaluate this guidance. Over the coming months, we will also be producing an online survey and running focus groups to find out what guides people currently refer to, where they access them and what they find useful.

The review is not about ranking or critiquing existing guidance but getting an understanding of what exists, what is accessible and what volunteers and community groups engage with. It is hoped that this review will be of interest to the wider archaeological sector and help to inform the creation of new resources in the future.

Please get in touch if you:
•Have produced, used or evaluated any guidance materials you think should be included in this review. This can be done by email or completing this simple form.
•Could circulate the online questionnaire to your contacts in community archaeology.
•Are interested in our focus group methodology and would like to run your own focus groups with volunteers and community groups to find out about the guidance they use and find useful.
•Want to know about the results of the study and our recommendations for creating future community archaeology resources.

Community Archive Forum

Community Archive Forum

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies

March 2 2019

Local history societies showcase their work and share experiences.

The Community Archive Forum provides an opportunity for local history societies and similar organisations to showcase what they have been doing; to network; and to share their experiences. It enables anyone with an interest in the county’s history to hear what is happening at local level and be inspired to get involved. The Forum is now a collaborative venture between Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and the Local History Section of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society.

With contributions from: * Milford on Sea Historical Record Society * Christchurch History Society * Ashburton Court, Southsea, research project * Hyde 900 * Hampshire Constabulary History Society * plus a panel discussion on publications. This is a free event, and places are limited. To book, please telephone Hampshire Archives and Local Studies on 01962 846154 or email archives.enquiries@hants.gov.uk no later than 25 February.

Event runs from 9.45am – 1.00pm

The following programme from the day demonstrates the variety and range of local history groups and the archives they use: Community Archives Timetable

Community Heritage Fair – Invite

Community Heritage Fair Small

We would like to invite you all to join us for the New Forest Community Heritage Fair.

Date: Tuesday 6th November

Times: 10am – 3pm

Location: Lyndhurst Community Centre

Join us for a celebration of the New Forest’s Heritage presented by the people who know it best; the local community.

The New Forest Community Heritage Fair will see groups from around the Forest come together to share their current research and passion for the fascinating history of the New Forest.

Groups will be displaying their research in the form of exhibitions, manned information stands, posters, books and talks for the day.

The event is a perfect opportunity to find out more about heritage on your doorstep and chat with some local experts. It might even inspire you to join your local group and discover a new passion or finally get around to getting hands on with something you’ve always had an interest in?

Please pop in during the day and see what you might discover.

Find out more: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/heritagefair

You can download and share the poster here: CHF Poster

You can download and share the flyer here: CHF Flyer

The following groups will be in attendance

  • Lepe Country Park
  • Rockbourne Roman Villa
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme
  • Beaulieu History Society
  • Netley Marsh History Group
  • New Forest History and Archaeology Group
  • Milford on Sea Historical Record Society
  • LoCATE (Local Community Archaeological Training and Equipment)
  • Friends of Hurst Castle
  • New Forest Heritage Centre
  • Romsey Local Historians
  • Copythorne Parish History Society
  • St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery
  • Minstead Local History Group
  • Wellow History Society
  • Emery Down – How we used to Live
  • Avon Valley Archaeology Society
  • Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) New Forest
  • Hampshire Medieval Graffiti Project
  • New Forest Knowledge
  • Maritime Archaeology Trust

Community Heritage Fair Large



Conference 2017: History & Archaeology

The New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017 will celebrate the archaeological and historical research being carried out in and around the New Forest. It will provide an opportunity to find out who is doing what, share the results of recent work, discuss new techniques and approaches and find out how you might get involved in the future.

The conference will run over two days from Friday 27 October through to Saturday 28 October 2017 at the Lyndhurst Community Centre.

The full confirmed programme is below and you can find all the abstracts linked below or by selecting Conference under the subjects theme.

As well as presented papers there will be poster displays from local community groups and students, and various display stands. We will aim to ensure there is enough time for you to enjoy these and also to chat with other individuals and representatives from local community groups and organisations.

Day tickets cost £20, but we hope you will be able to join us for both days.
To encourage this we have set the two day ticket at £30.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Book your ticket


Day 1: Friday 27th October



Day 2: Saturday 28th October



D-Day in the New Forest Overview

On the 6 June 1944 thousands of troops with their vehicles and supplies left Britain via locations such as Lepe Beach in the New Forest for the beaches of Normandy. This was D Day, the start of the great campaign to liberate Europe and to bring the Second World War to its end. This was only one part of a huge logistical operation that saw a hive of activity in and around the New Forest, from road widening to camps hidden in woods and from Mulberry to Pluto. We are continuing to expand our knowledge of some of the top secret New Forest activities, but know there is more to find so please do get in contact if you have anything to share, or upload an article on this site.

We have numerous D-Day articles, archives, archaeology and oral histories from around the New Forest on New Forest Knowledge and this article has been created to link them all and provide easy access to the more detailed content.

Advanced Landing Grounds and Air Operations

D Day Landing Craft

PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean)

Memories and Oral Histories


D-Day Events and Memorials

Diaries of Georgina Bowden-Smith (1820-1906)

Georgina Eleanor Bowden-Smith (nee Long) was born on 20th April 1820. She was the daughter of Walter Long and Lady Mary Carnegie of Corhampton in Hampshire. Walter had inherited Preshaw at Upham from his father, John Long. Lady Carnegie was the daughter of the 7th Earl of Northesk.

Georgina and her husband Richard, moved to Vernalls, a large house in Lyndhurst, in 1856. At first they rented it from Admiral Aitcheson but, according to Georgina’s diaries, they purchased it in 1860. Richard died at Vernalls in 1881. Georgina lived there until she died in 1906, and her son Walter Baird Bowden-Smith until he died in 1932.

In the last year of her life, Georgina wrote: Of what I remember of Lyndhurst and the Neighbourhood nearly 50 years ago (1850-1906). The handwritten diaries, which contain a number of photographs, sketches and watercolours, have been digitised and made available online.

To access each volume, click on the links below:

Volume 1

Volume 2