IT HAS been dubbed the first and only community woodland project in the New Forest.

Now the Pondhead Trust, which has embarked on a project to restore 200 acres of “neglected” Crown woodland near Lyndhurst, is in line for a top award.

It has been shortlisted for the annual Park Protector Award, presented by the Campaign for National Parks.

The Trust has already provided new tranquil areas for visitors, created a habitat for butterflies and re-introduced charcoal-making to the Forest.

Spokesman Derek Tippetts said: “We are very honoured to be shortlisted for the Park Protector Awards.

“When we were planning our community woodland project during 2012/3, little did we dream how successful it would become in such a short period of time.

“It just goes to show what can happen when you have belief, determination and team work.”

Andrew Hall of the Campaign for National Parks, added: “This tremendous shortlist reflects the incredible quality of applicants and the dedication of people across from across England and Wales to their National Parks.

“The Parks face many challenges, but each year the Park Protector Award reminds me of the depth of feeling out there for England and Wales’ best landscapes.”

The winning project will be announced at a parliamentary reception in October and will receive a £2,000 boost to its work, a highly commended prize of £500 will also be awarded.

The parliamentary reception will be attended by Julian Glover who is leading the Government’s review into England’s designated landscapes.

The award is supported by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust.

Stephen Ross of the Trust said|: The projects presented this year for the Park Protector Award once again covered a diverse range from conservation to improving access and discovery of forgotten land management techniques. The applications demonstrated the passion of volunteers who are prepared to give up their energy and time to add to the joy of others who visit our National Parks.”