The New Forest

The New Forest is a spectacular landscape made up of a unique mix of woodlands and open habitats that are globally important for nature conservation

Forestry England manages 47% of the New Forest National Park, including much of the best-known ancient woodlands, wetlands and heathlands, which are home to many rare species of plants and wildlife. In fact, we look after more land and more trees than any other organisation in England.

Respect, Protect, Enjoy

Ensuring the New Forest is a safe place to come and protecting the very special nature we have here, requires all of us to respect and look after it.  Thank you for helping us look after our precious landscape.

Park and drive responsibly

Parking is only allowed within our designated car parks, please do not to park on grass verges or block gates. Keep highways clear and leave plenty of room for other road users to pass. Find out which car parks are open and have facilities.

Stick to the marked trails

It's particularly important that cyclists stick to way-marked cycle trails in the New Forest, which is a highly protected and fragile landscape. There are over 100 miles of off-road waymarked cycle routes that you can use and cyclists must stay on these all year round. Please note that you cannot use e-scooters on land that we manage in the New Forest  because they are currently illegal (except on private land or when used on public roads as part of formal government trial).

Keep your distance

Please help reduce animal accidents by driving with extra care on Forest roads.  Please don't feed the ponies and pigs, the Forest is home to many grazing animals and wildlife that can be made ill from discarded food and litter that people leave behind. Please help us keep the New Forest a tidy place for people and safe place for animals by being responsible for your own rubbish.

No fires or BBQs are allowed

To help prevent dangerous forest fires, this is now a no BBQ and fire zone – BBQs and campfires are no longer permitted in our car parks or other areas of the forest managed by Forestry England and all BBQ facilities have been removed from our sites. Protecting the New Forest from the risk of wildfires is everyone’s responsibility.

Follow the New Forest Code

The New Forest code focuses on nine simple ways visitors and residents can help care for this unique and special place. Find out more: The New Forest Code

Visit one of our main visitor sites:

Find a car park: New Forest Car Parks

Explore the New Forest on two wheels!

We have more than 100 miles of waymarked family-friendly cycle routes, much of it off the public highway and traffic-free. There are plenty of places to hire bikes.

Off-road cycling is only permitted on certain routes in the New Forest. Download the cycle map (located in the activity information box on this page) before you visit.

For more adventurous cyclists, there are purpose-built mountain bike circuits at Moors Valley Country Park, Ringwood. 

Follow the New Forest Cycle Code

The New Forest is a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks.  Ponies, cattle and other animals are free to roam the forest and most of its roads.  Please follow both the Highway Code and the New Forest Cycling Code:

Ride positively and well clear of uneven road edges but with consideration for other road-users. To allow vehicles to overtake safely, leave gaps for them to pull into and move into single file when necessary and safe to do so. Never ride more than two abreast. Off road, cycle only on the waymarked network of tracks, bridleways, byways, restricted byways and designated routes. Use a map to plan your route and try to be off Forest tracks by sunset Be polite to others. When passing people and animals, use your bell or call out a warning and allow them plenty of room. Be prepared to stop if necessary. Do not drop litter or feed the animals; human food and litter are a danger to them. Close gates behind you so the animals don’t stray. Respect the quiet of the Forest. Pass animals slowly and to one side if possible. Take extra care near horse riders; a kick or fall from a horse could be fatal. Be prepared to stop. Use your bell or call out a friendly warning well in advance. When it is safe, pass wide and at walking pace, to one side only. Look out for any reaction from the horse. Keep to a safe speed, on and off road, particularly on narrow lanes, steep hills and bends. Look out for pot holes, poor surfaces and cattle grids. Look out for and obey safety signs. Do not pass large vehicles and trailers until you know it is safe to do so. Ensure you are visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing. Use lights after dark and in poor daytime visibility. Avoid the use of earphones.

Electric bikes

As with any type of cycling, an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC), electric bike or e-bike is only allowed on designated cycle routes. We urge people to behave responsibly and considerably, respecting other users as well as the New Forest Code. All e-bikes ridden on cycle tracks in the New Forest have to be fully EAPC compliant.

An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it and the electric motor must only have a maximum power output of 250 watts and should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph. Find out more about EAPC legislation: https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules

Events

Organised events require permission from Forestry England.

If you are taking part in an organised event, follow the additional instructions to minimise your impact. Help us to protect this special place.

Walking trails are suitable for all ages and abilities and some are pushchair and buggy friendly. You don’t even need a map. Follow the wooden posts with the coloured marker bands and take in the stunning views along the way.

There are over 130 car parks throughout the forest and each one has a gateway into the wider forest.  You’ll find facilities at some sites, such as picnic tables, toilets and information. Throughout the Easter holidays and summertime, at Bolderwood, we offer a seasonal information cabin that provides advice on how to make the most of your visit. We ask visitors to follow The New Forest Code which focuses on nine simple ways you can help care for this unique and special place.

Recommended trails:

BolderwoodBlackwaterKnightwoodReptile CentreWhitefield MoorWilverley

Seasonal circular walks 

To help protect ground nesting birds in the New Forest, we recommend that you use our alternative routes for your walk that avoids sensitive areas. We've created three new circular walks for you to use, starting from car parks at Burbush (BH24 4EF), Moonhills (SO42 7YS) and Shatterford (SO42 7YQ).

A place for everyone to enjoy

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.

To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.

The New Forest is a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks. Stay safe by obeying warning signs and keeping away from work sites and vehicles.

Ponies, cattle and other animals are free to roam the forest, so please admire the ponies without getting too close and certainly don’t feed them.

Events

Organised events require permission from Forestry England. If you are taking part in an organised event, follow the additional instructions to minimise your impact.

The campsites in the Crown Lands of the New Forest are operated by an independent, commercial camping company – Camping in the Forest. The company operate, staff and run campsites across the UK, including 10 in the New Forest. These campsites provide an important way of managing camping within a controlled environment, and provide many benefits to the local community and economy.

Wild camping

Visitors are reminded that wild camping in the Forest is not allowed, as this is a highly sensitive area for wildlife. Wild camping can cause real damage, resulting from discarded litter, fly-tipped equipment, and fire risks from irresponsible fires and BBQs - all posing major risks to the landscape and wildlife.

BBQs and Stoves

Only BBQ’s and stoves that are raised off the ground can be used on official campsites within the heart of the New Forest (those operated by Camping in the Forest). These are managed and patrolled areas and have a series of fire measures in place including metal containers for hot coals to ensure their correct and safe disposal, water points and fire-fighting equipment, and regular patrols by campsite staff.

Disposable BBQs are not permitted at these locations in line with the rest of the New Forest Crown lands. These campsites have Camping in the Forest staff onsite at all times and local staff raise the profile of safety messages.

Camping in the Forest

For more information about Camping in the Forest please visit: https://www.campingintheforest.co.uk or call 0247 642 3008 about your existing booking.

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