The inspiration for one of the most famous children’s stories of all time, Alice Liddell moved to the New Forest when she married Reginald Hargreaves. Together, they lived at Hargreaves, a 180-acre country estate in Lyndhurst. Alice is said to have described the New Forest and her home in Lyndhurst as her own personal Wonderland, and she spent most of her adult life here.

Earlier this year, the Lewis Carroll Society gifted us a collection of books, documents and pictures relating to Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. To honour this generous gift, we hosted Alice Week (26th May-2nd June), a celebration of all things Wonderland. Activities were free to all visitors and were a hit with families, who took part in craft workshops including Mad Hatter millinery and Cheshire Cat flowerpot painting, as well as self-guided trails around Lyndhurst and an Ace of Hearts Hunt. It was wonderful to be able to share our collections with younger members of the public and their families. You can read more about Alice Liddell and our special collection of Lewis Carroll items here.

School holidays are an ideal time to visit us from nearby or further afield. Our activities and exhibitions allow for family bonding time, helping to strengthen relationships and spark imagination and connection across generations of family members.

Find out more about our upcoming exhibitions and special events here.

Writer - Laura Lamb

Future Forest: Habitats and Hope 

In March 2023, the Learning team at the New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, delivered their project ‘Future Forest: Habitats and Hope’ as part of the ‘Wild Escape’.  

The Project 

We used the New Forest Embroidery as inspiration for the children to explore the rich wildlife that makes the New Forest their home and to imagine what a hopeful future should look like for the New Forest if we were to be mindful of biodiversity loss. 

Schools we worked with 

  • The New Forest Small School, 24 pupils, aged 7-11yrs 
  • Bartley Junior School, 19 pupils from year groups 3-5

The Journey 

Day one of the visit to us was in two parts- on one half, they took a closer look at the embroidery and took part in interactive activities as ‘ways in’ to look and imagine. They identified the wildlife in the forest, considered what biodiversity means, the human impacts we make on the forest, and what we could do to ensure we protect habitats for our future. 

Then, each pupil responded creatively to the question ‘What would a future forest with rich biodiversity look like?’ by creating a drawing of something from nature.  

In the afternoon they went into the forest with our partners from the New Forest National Parks Association. 

panel of embroidery of the summer in the new forest

We supplied Rachel (an artist from Swanwick Studio) with digital images of their drawings from day one, which she used to create a vision for how their final boards would look: 


The Result

On day 2 of their visit, they created a magnificent mixed media mosaic final piece with the support of Rachel: 

All the pupils learning and understanding of key messages went into the final piece. The rich and thriving wildlife pictured, is the vision of hope the children want to see for their future forest and natural environment.   

The three boards from each school, merged seamlessly for a huge bright and bold forest scene full of wildlife and biodiversity.  


Hannah Eastwood, Head of Learning, comments: 

‘We are incredibly proud of the work the children have done. The creative journey they have been on, and their learning of such a big topic such as biodiversity. We are so pleased to be able to exhibit the work in the Museum & hope that the public will enjoy the artwork as much as we enjoyed delivering the project. This colourful and bright work, full of optimism, will remain on display for as long as possible. The embroidery has proven to once again be a source of inspiration and the legacy continues to inspire younger generations. This is such a strong piece in our collection which has many avenues to explore for cross curricular learning and opportunities for creativity.’  

Hayley Long, in our Learning Team, comments: 

‘It was a pleasure to work with all the children; they were historians, geographers, scientists, and artists for the day. The Wild Escape has been an inspiring opportunity for the children to learn creatively and imaginatively about the importance of biodiversity in their local environment while also developing their communication and teamworking skills.’ 

We are delighted to display the finished Wild Escape artwork in our Museum for the pupils, their families and for all our visitors to see. 


arts council logo 

February might be a short month but we’ve been very busy at the Centre. Click here to read this month’s newsletter:

2023 promises to be an exciting year for the New Forest Heritage Trust. We’ve started the year as we mean to go on! Read our January newsletter for all our latest news and plans:

In our final newsletter of 2022, find out what we’ve been doing during December and read about our plans for the New Year:

November has been another busy month at the New Forest Heritage Centre. Read our newsletter to find out more about what we’ve been doing and what we’re planning for the festive season.

Autumn is now showing its colours in the Forest and Halloween is on the way – it must be time for our October newsletter!  Read it here:

In September, we bade farewell to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We recognise her outstanding public service for over 70 years as our monarch and pay tribute to her life and legacy. Click to read our September newsletter:

As we approach the August Bank Holiday, we look back on another busy month at the Centre. Click here to find out more about what we’ve been doing:

The summer holidays are here…and so is our July newsletter! Click here for our news from this month and to to find out about events we’re planning for August:

As June draws to a close, it must be time for our newsletter! Click here to find out about what we’ve been doing this month and the events we’re looking forward to in July:

We’re looking forward to the Queen’s Jubilee and the extended Bank Holiday weekend! Read our newsletter to hear our plans for the month of June:

April has been a busy month and there are exciting events coming up in May too! Read our newsletter to find out more:

The clocks have moved forward, the sun is shining (for now at least). It must be time for our March newsletter! Read it here:

February might have been a stormy across the UK but we’ve kept busy through the windy weather. Find out more about what we’ve been doing in our February newsletter:

2022 is now well underway and we’ve had a busy start to the year. Find out more in our January newsletter:

The end of 2021 is close but before we say goodbye to this year, we have our December newsletter to share with you:

The days are getting shorter and cooler as autumn turns into winter. It must be time for our November newsletter:

Autumn is here and so is our October newsletter!

Read it here:

Please note that the article ‘General View of the Agriculture of Hampshire including the Isle of Wight by Charles Vancouver The Board Agriculture and Internal Improvement 1813’ was written by our Collections and Engagement Manager, Armand De Filippo.

The leaves are changing colour, autumn weather is on its way and so it must be time for the September newsletter.

Read it here:

Summer is still with us, a bank holiday is approaching and so it must be time to share with you what’s been going on this month.

Read our August newsletter:

The sun is shining and the temperature is high, it must be summer and time for the July newsletter!

Read it here:

As the end of June approaches, it’s time to share with you what we’ve been doing since we reopened.

Read the June newsletter here:[UNIQID]

May is here, summer is coming and we’re reopen. Hurrah!

Read our May newsletter here[UNIQID]

April is upon us and we may still be closed, but there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes!

Read our April newsletter here[UNIQID]

Spring is in the air, so now seemed a good time for our March Newsletter!


As February comes to an end, here’s our latest update to brighten your day!

January and lockdown might not seem the brightest of months, but there is plenty of cheer to be found in our latest newsletter

Sign up to receive these each month using the form below.

Our December newsletter is here, we hope you enjoy it.

Read it here[UNIQID]

Learn about Edward Mudge, Georgina Bowden-Smith and glass plate negatives buried in a garden in Fawley!

To receive these automatically, please sign up at bottom of the page

Here’s November’s newsletter, albeit a little late![UNIQID]

It’s got a great story about boats in it!

Sign up to receive one each month.

I guess that’s the question on so many minds these days. What dystopian world do we find ourselves living in, and what does the future hold? Well it won’t come as any surprise that these are pretty much the same questions we are asking ourselves as a small independent charity.

We closed from late March, reopening on reduced hours, 10.30am to 4.30pm, seven days a week on Monday 27th July, initially also offering a slightly reduced service. We furloughed all of our staff when we closed, making what savings we could, and then in early June started to bring them back to work on a phased basis so that we could progress some of our broader strategies and investigate a reopening plan. Of course, there was also a need to apply for a range of emergency funding pots that had become potentially available.

Since early June not only have we managed to secure some vital funds from the National Lottery Emergency Fund, which covers our projected losses in the months of August, September and October, but also from a couple of other charitable funders. Frankly without these generous contributions we’d be looking at a much darker future.

Our revenues are generated from our shop, exhibition gallery, donations and café, all of which feed off visitor numbers. Clearly all virtually zero when we’re closed. We debated long and hard when to reopen, juggling the needs of the business with the demand and the safety of both customers and team members. Of course, no one really knows for sure, but we talked with partners, followed advice from the Association of Independent Museums, and The National Museums Directors Council,

I’m pleased to say that since we reopened we’ve achieved visitor numbers of 55%, retail income of 74% and donations by visitors of 98%, compared with 2019, which is a fabulous result. We’re hoping this continues into September and we’ll monitor this to make sure we continue to make the best decisions we can for the charity.

There are only two parts of the museum not yet open, the temporary exhibition gallery and the Christopher Tower Reference Library. The gallery is closed as we cancelled all of our forthcoming exhibitions, but I’m now working on a plan to reopen, and am meeting next week with the gentleman who I hope will be our reopening exhibition in November.

The library remains closed but should reopen to the public on its traditional Wednesdays and Friday mornings in the first two weeks of October. Our volunteer team are already working in there and other access can be arranged via The big news is that over the lockdown process we completed the installation of our new flexible shelving and storage systems. This has provided us with nearly ½ kilometre of space, quadrupling what we had previously. Since its completion this has allowed us to start to reorganise the boxes we had stored in a multitude of corners! There is more on the shelves than ever before, access has been greatly increased and we’re working hard to catalogue, digitise and display what we’ve got. It has been a wonderful project contributed to by not only the team here and the volunteers, but also some wonderfully cooperative external contractors, such as Longdown Builders, Rackline Storage Systems and Easton Removal Company (who had the unenviable task of moving everything, keeping it in a specific order and then putting it all back. Thanks Mike and Mark!)

However, whilst the library may have been closed, our research facilities have found themselves very much in demand over lockdown. Our website New Forest Knowledge, has had more traffic than ever, with views over June, July and August up by 94% on the same months in 2019. We’ve recently completed some significant pieces of work on here, so have a look, there’s over 20,000 things to look at and listen to.

Finally, as a team we continue to work through the process of reapplying for Accreditation. Accreditation is an Arts Council scheme, which recognises those museums which care for their visitors, their collections and their governance to the highest of standard. There is a lot to be done ahead of submission in April 2021, but I’m confident we’ll be ready.

The Centre has been a fully accredited museum for many years now, and such accreditation is both a clear recognition of what we do, but also sends a clear message to funders, donors, visitors and volunteers, that we are committed to the highest of standards, and whilst we recognise that ourselves, this is supported by those who hold us to the highest of standards.

In conclusion, yes, it has been a trying and testing time, but I’m delighted to report that the team has pulled together well, we’ve achieved a huge amount, and the future, whilst not secure or clearly laid out, is looking promising. Come on in and see us, and if you can’t and you’d still like to support us, then there’s always our Just Giving page,

That’s more than enough from me for the time being. If you would like to discuss anything, do please pop in and see me, or get in touch at