HOW many of you watched the Channel 4 documentary called, ‘A year in the New Forest’? I enjoyed it, in that it took me back 50 plus years to when I was a boy and teenager. When the New Forest did seem rural. One difference then, there was still hunting. Thankfully that has been banned.

Otherwise the programme really did not provide what I believe is today’s New Forest. Nothing about the too busy roads, pollution, low flying aircraft. All the new outbuildings, land grabbing of ditches, over grown hedges causing blind spots and the narrowing of the Country lanes. Small country cottages becoming large houses through continual extensions. Or knocked down, and build bigger.

The New Forest is now treated as a form of Hollywood, not a protected National Park. Local politicians are only interested in generating incomes. Not that the New Forest is the only open space between Christchurch (to be now part of Bournemouth and Poole) and that with Southampton. To the north of the Forest, where most of the filming seems to have taken place, it may not be so bad .

On a personal note, and to some readers this will be amusing, the head of the local GP practice, described me as someone who lives an eccentric lifestyle – because I live in an out-dated house, [with] grounds which are not immaculately kept, nor buy the most expensive car that I can or cannot afford. I do not go off on holidays but instead enjoy my surroundings.

If that is being an eccentric, then so be it.

I hope he watched the TV programme to see, I am not alone.

However as the programme pointed out, we eccentrics (for the want of a description) are disappearing. No one seems now to genuinely care about the New Forest, only how as an area, it can make money.

The two MP’s were not local people until they won their seats nor are many of the Councillors.

The New Forest is in part funded by our membership of the European Union. There is no guarantee that will be covered by a UK Government, at the end of 2019. When the transitional period comes to an end.

I will mention again, to annoy some. I have lived in my road longer than any other resident. My family background to my village and the New Forest goes back centuries.

And yet we locals are mocked by, in comparison, outsiders.

Richard Grant