Horse lovers speak out over Gruffalo fears

Horse lovers speak out over Gruffalo fears

Horse lovers speak out over Gruffalo fears

First published in New Forest News
Last updated
by , Head of News

HORSE lovers have complained to the Defra minister, saying the forest is being “exploited” after plans for Gruffalo-themed events were revealed.

The children’s favourite character turns 15 this year, and the National Park Authority posted details of Gruffalo-themed trails, with seven-foot-high sculptures and activities based around Forestry Commission campsites around the forest.

But the New Forest Equestrian Association says this is “commercial exploitation” and says the move is contrary to what should be the aim – to “protect the forest for the quiet enjoyment of future generations”.

Now the NFEA’s chairman Tony Hockley has written to Dan Rogerson, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defra, in a strongly-worded letter entitled: ‘Commercial exploitation of the New Forest’.

He told Mr Rogerson there were “serious conflicts of interest” within the Forestry Commission.

And he said the Gruffalo plans were “a very worrying new direction in the exploitation of such a special, working landscape”.

He added: “The Forestry Commission campsites are already very busy, and a source of continuous pressure for further piecemeal development of the open forest.

“Their further enhancement as theme parks as part of a national commercial campaign by the Forestry Commission, will cause great concern to all who wish to protect the forest for the quiet enjoyment of future generations.”

And he said: “I would be very grateful if you could offer reassurance that the Government will address such clear conflicts of interest on the part of the new body that will replace the Forestry Commission, and that the special status and legal framework for the New Forest will be maintained in the forthcoming legislation.”

A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “The Forestry Commission has teamed up nationally with The Gruffalo in its 15th anniversary year, to help encourage children and their families learn more about woods and forests. The Gruffalo stories themselves explore the woodland environment, and introduce animal characters who might be found living in the forest.

“The proposed trails are designed to be self-led, temporary activities waymarked with carefully positioned signage. No permanent structures are to be installed. On campsites, the captive audience are those resident on the site. We hope that children and families will be inspired to find out more about the woodland environment when they visit.”

The activities are lined up for Ocknell and Longbeech, Holmsley, Roundhill, Hollands Wood and Ashurst in the New Forest, and across 23 other forests across England, to run through to the end of September In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in the forest right through the winter until February 2015, the commission’s website says.

Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films , said: “All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure and we’re can’t wait to kick-off the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails across our New Forest campsites above.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:32pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Aethernet says...

That looks awesome, and would be a reason for me to visit the New Forest. It has been awarded National Park status for a number of reasons; encouraging the young to visit and cherish our natural environment is key.

Tony Hockley should be ashamed of himself, attitudes like his are divisive and discourage people from enjoying the forest. That, I would guess, is his ultimate aim.
That looks awesome, and would be a reason for me to visit the New Forest. It has been awarded National Park status for a number of reasons; encouraging the young to visit and cherish our natural environment is key. Tony Hockley should be ashamed of himself, attitudes like his are divisive and discourage people from enjoying the forest. That, I would guess, is his ultimate aim. Aethernet
  • Score: 9

7:27pm Thu 6 Mar 14

JDP123 says...

Aethernet wrote:
That looks awesome, and would be a reason for me to visit the New Forest. It has been awarded National Park status for a number of reasons; encouraging the young to visit and cherish our natural environment is key.

Tony Hockley should be ashamed of himself, attitudes like his are divisive and discourage people from enjoying the forest. That, I would guess, is his ultimate aim.
Couldn't agree more! The whole point is that the young need encouraging away from a tv set to places such as the New Forest, and I cant think of a better way, my children love The Gruffalo and we have made several trips previously to Moors Valley where they used to do a similar activity, a great time was had by all and we stopped off at local pubs etc for something to eat on the way home, so a bonus to local economy as well. These places are here for all to enjoy not just for peace and quiet but for playing exploring and having fun in too, I think theres nothing nicer,especially in this technological age,than to see/hear children being children running around the woods,building dens etc so I hope the Government sees fit to encourage activities such as this which would perhaps help out with the obese children that are sat playing their Xboxes before they can even utter a full sentence. If this is anywhere near as good as Moors Valley Gruffalo Trails then I would highly recommend all to go along.
[quote][p][bold]Aethernet[/bold] wrote: That looks awesome, and would be a reason for me to visit the New Forest. It has been awarded National Park status for a number of reasons; encouraging the young to visit and cherish our natural environment is key. Tony Hockley should be ashamed of himself, attitudes like his are divisive and discourage people from enjoying the forest. That, I would guess, is his ultimate aim.[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more! The whole point is that the young need encouraging away from a tv set to places such as the New Forest, and I cant think of a better way, my children love The Gruffalo and we have made several trips previously to Moors Valley where they used to do a similar activity, a great time was had by all and we stopped off at local pubs etc for something to eat on the way home, so a bonus to local economy as well. These places are here for all to enjoy not just for peace and quiet but for playing exploring and having fun in too, I think theres nothing nicer,especially in this technological age,than to see/hear children being children running around the woods,building dens etc so I hope the Government sees fit to encourage activities such as this which would perhaps help out with the obese children that are sat playing their Xboxes before they can even utter a full sentence. If this is anywhere near as good as Moors Valley Gruffalo Trails then I would highly recommend all to go along. JDP123
  • Score: 9

9:47am Fri 7 Mar 14

Scots_Jon says...

Whoever the "New Forest Equestrian Association" is, they certainly don't represent the views of the majority of residents. It's pathetic for a small minority to expect to keep the Forest as their own personal idyll only for use in ways that they approve of.

As residents we welcome sutainable, well managed events that bring people to the forest in a responsible way. What we complain about is poorly manged, disruptive events (which is why the mass cycle races create such strong feeling).
Whoever the "New Forest Equestrian Association" is, they certainly don't represent the views of the majority of residents. It's pathetic for a small minority to expect to keep the Forest as their own personal idyll only for use in ways that they approve of. As residents we welcome sutainable, well managed events that bring people to the forest in a responsible way. What we complain about is poorly manged, disruptive events (which is why the mass cycle races create such strong feeling). Scots_Jon
  • Score: 9

3:24pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Grampie says...

Can't let the oiks use the Forest. Whatever next?
Can't let the oiks use the Forest. Whatever next? Grampie
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree