New Forest - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in the New Forest

The New Forest is a popular area for DofE expeditions for Bronze and Silver awards. 

We request that all group organisers contact us to keep us informed of their planned visit to the New Forest.  Please check the following guidance as to the level of communication required.

Forestry Commission permission and notification criteria

Notification Form

If you fall within the following criteria we ask that you complete the Notification Form and send it to dofe.newforest@forestryengland.uk, at least 6 weeks in advance of your visit. 

  • all planned walks will be following the suggested tracks as per map (please refer to suggested tracks map)
  • dates have been cross checked with car park and route closures and nothing clashes with visit dates
  • there are no intentions to erect any extra infrastructure, like gazebos and banners

This is not a permission request, but is essential to give us, as land managers, information about what groups are using the Forest and the numbers of participants involved.

Applying for a permission

All DofE activities that do not fall within the above criteria must apply for a permission, stating your reasons why you are asking for permission not to stay within the above criteria.  This may include organisers who wish to:

  • plan walk routes beyond the suggested tracks on the map (please refer to suggested tracks map and state reasons why)
  • use a specific car park or route, but dates coincide with closures listed on the website
  • or wish to erect extra infrastructure, for example gazebos and flag banners.

Please complete the application form and email full details of what you are planning, to dofe.newforest@forestryengland.uk, at least 6 weeks in advance of your visit.   

To help speed up the processing of your application please include maps with your intended walk routes (highlighting sections that detour from the suggest tracks) and details of drop off and pick up points, including dates/times. 

Please note:  routes that cross open heath areas and do not follow our suggested tracks during the ground nesting bird season (March - July) will not be permitted.

A place for everyone to enjoy

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

  • to read our Caring for the Forest guide before the visit
  • for assessors, parents and leaders not to park on grass verges or in front of gateways
  • that wildfires, campfires and stoves are not allowed without the landowner's permission
  • that participants must follow all signs and stick to the wide, main gravel tracks and not be tempted to follow the little pony paths. These often lead to sensitive wetland habitats and ground nesting bird areas.  This will allow the birds to find quieter, less disturbed, areas of the forest to breed and rest.

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