Enjoying the New Forest National Park
Please park only in designated Forestry Commission car parks and be out by dusk. A complimentary Parking Clock is on the noticeboard, use it to have up to three free hours of parking in many village car parks.
To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, ridden horses and dogs on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.
The New Forest is great for dogs but to minimise disturbance to wildlife, livestock and other people, please keep your dogs close by you and visible at all times – if necessary use a lead. Pick up after your dog, especially around car parks, on paths and where people play or picnic.
Please take your litter home or use the animal-proof bins at the car parks.
The speed limits of 30 or 40 mph on unfenced roads greatly reduce the number of accidents involving animals. Slow down and give walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and animals a wide berth. Be especially careful at night where the animals can often be on or crossing the roads.
Campfires are not allowed in the New Forest because uncontrolled forest fires are a great threat. Barbecue sites are provided for hire at Wilverley and Anderwood car parks by the Forestry Commission (023 8028 3141 or www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest) and at Lepe Country Park by Hampshire County Council (please book in advance 023 8089 9108 or www.hants.gov.uk/lepe).
Do enjoy the extensive network of off-road routes, but keep to the waymarked tracks or bridleways; give way to walkers and horse-riders, and call out a warning when approaching them. On narrow roads, ride in single file and never more than two abreast; wear bright colours to be visible and always use lights in the dark.
There are excellent designated sites to pitch your tent or caravan. Wild camping is not allowed.
There is plenty of natural food for the grazing animals so please don’t feed them. It’s against the byelaws and human food can harm them. Some hand-fed ponies become aggressive with people who, quite rightly, keep their picnics to themselves. Even stroking ponies is dangerous – they may look friendly but they can bite and kick, especially mares with foals.
Take notice of any warning signs and keep a safe distance from work sites or areas where controlled burning is being undertaken. Only pass a vehicle loading timber when told it is safe to do so.
Take care to identify fungi accurately – if you are unsure, don’t pick it. Only pick fungi from plentiful sources and only for personal consumption. As a guide, this means that no more than 1.5kg should be taken in any visit.
Areas of the New Forest were used as test bombing ranges in both the First and Second World Wars. Never pick up an object that you cannot identify. Notify the police immediately on 999.