Looking towards a positive change in restrictions in the near future I thought it was time to just reinforce some ways we can help the forest as visitors and regular users...
....PLEASE COME and enjoy this wonderful landscape and ROAMING LIVESTOCK, but PLEASE do not feed or pet. If the livestock get used to people, they tend to hang around car parks, roadsides and tourist hot spots looking for a handout which stops them from grazing and roaming in their NATURAL HABITAT.This can create aggressive behaviour and a higher risk of being hit by a car. One of many reasons to stick to the speed limit when DRIVING IN THE FOREST. Ponies, cows, donkeys, pigs and deer can easily be camouflaged in their surroundings even on a roadside in broad daylight.
PLEASE STOP AND ADMIRE the animals from a distance but PLEASE BE MINDFUL of where you park. Parking on verges or in gateways are not permitted. Verges are VALUABLE GRAZING areas with rare species of flora often growing there. Locked gates still need 24 hour access by Forestry England vehicles, commoners and the emergency services. There are many Forestry England FREE CAR PARKS all over the forest and roaming animals are never far away.
FANCY A BBQ? Save this for your garden. Bbq's are banned in the forest due to high risk of fire but there are plenty of fenced off picnic areas under the trees in the forest to enjoy your sandwiches away from tempted animals.
The WONDERFUL THING about the New Forest is THE FREEDOM to walk anywhere but please adhere to signage, stick to paths on heathlands between March and July to avoid disturbing GROUND NESTING BIRDS. Keep dogs UNDER CLOSE CONTROL, to reduce disturbance. Especially if they are not used to roaming livestock. Often there is young sheltering in the scrub and Mums can be understandably protective and aggressive.
If you are bringing your bikes there are many CYCLE TRACKS in the New Forest. PLEASE ENJOY these tracks and forest roads. Cycling on the open forest is not permitted as It creates trenching on damp tracks and disturbance to WILDLIFE and RARE FLORA.
Please come Please admire, see what we see an AMAZING ENVIRONMENT for rare flora and fauna. Walk and cycle THE NEW FOREST, eat alfresco, watch the sunrise and listen to the DAWN CHORUS. Experience the SUNSET. Enjoy seeing badgers, foxes, deer and bats brave the LANDSCAPE. Come and see the AUTUMN COLOURS and rare fungi or the spring awakening and NEW BORN FOALS.
All we ask is that you do not touch or disturb. COME AND ENJOY with minimal impact on the environment, and the experience and MEMORIES you take away will be MAXIMUM IMPACT of the NEW FOREST.