New Forest - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Please notify us if you are planning a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition in the New Forest

The New Forest is a popular area for DofE expeditions for bronze and silver awards and organised walking groups. Due to the New Forest’s special qualities and designations, it is not suitable for gold awards.

We require all group organisers to contact us ahead of any planned visit to the New Forest and to provide information as detailed below. 

Forestry England permission and notification criteria

Notification Form

A formal permission is not needed, but it is essential to give us, as land managers, information about the groups using the Forest at any one time and the numbers of participants involved.

We require the leader of a visit to complete our notification form and send it to, at least 6 weeks in advance of the planned visit. In completing this form, they will be required to confirm that their activity will meet the following conditions:

  • All planned walks will be following the tracks set out on the robust tracks map.
  • Routes crossing open heathland and off-track routes are not permitted. This is essential to avoid disturbance to wildlife including ground nesting birds.
  • Dates have been cross checked with car park and route closures and nothing clashes with the dates of your visit.
  • The group will not be erecting any extra infrastructure, like gazebos, banners and drop cards.
  • Bank Holiday weekends must be avoided for any expeditions due to high volumes of visitors.

A place for everyone to enjoy

There is no charge for a DofE notification, but we do require that you keep us informed of your activities and help us to care for the forest by reminding all participants:

  • To read and understand The New Forest Code before they visit.
  • The New Forest is one of Europe’s most important locations for nature and conservation. It holds the highest possible conservation status (SSSI, SPA, SAC and Ramsar) and is legally protected. Find out more
  • For assessors, parents and leaders not to park on grass verges or block gateways at any time.
  • Campfires, BBQs, stoves or naked flames are not allowed anywhere on the forest.
  • That participants must follow all signs and stick to the wide, main gravel tracks listed on our robust track map. Do not be tempted to follow the smaller tracks made by ponies and livestock as these often lead to sensitive wetland habitats and ground nesting bird areas. This will allow wildlife to find quieter, less disturbed, areas of the forest to breed and rest.

Note for organisers

It is recommended that you check for any car park and route closures again in the weeks and days leading up to your visit. Although we always give as much notification as possible, last-minute closures can occur.