New Forest Knowledge is a Heritage Lottery Funded project, and is part of the wider Landscape Partnership Scheme, Our Past Our Future lead by the New Forest National Park Authority. You can find out more about the Partnership here.

New Forest Knowledge will allow the public to browse online the extensive collections held by the New Forest Museum and Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library in Lyndhurst.  It aims to preserve the Forest’s heritage and improve the way it is managed through the increasing pressures of modern life.

A team of 20 dedicated volunteers, based at the New Forest Centre, have been digitising historical documents such as maps, photographs and manuscripts to be included in the portal.

Over 3000 items have been digitised since March, surpassing the project’s initial expectations and rediscovering some of the wonderful ‘hidden gems’ in the collections. Fascinating items so far include a copy of renowned New Forest painter, illustrator and archaeologist Heywood Sumner’s ‘A Guide to the New Forest’ containing personal, hand-written letters.

The gateway will become a hub of information and activity, as users can not only browse content, but contribute to it. Users will include members of the public, researchers, university students, history and archaeology groups, plant and animal wildlife groups and conservation groups.

The gateway is currently in the development stage and we are calling for suggestions from prospective users about how it might best deliver the wealth of information it will contain. Suggestions for the gateway can be sent to Project Officer Dr Kath Walker at kath.walker@newforestcentre.org.uk or you can call the library on 02380 283444.