Swimming and Paddleboarding in the New Forest

Our freshwater bodies are home to some of the rarest species

Waterways are a vital resource for wildlife and grazing animals. Our freshwater bodies are home to some of the rarest wetland plants and freshwater animals, long since lost from many other parts of the UK. To protect the wildlife habitat, swimming and watersports (for example boating and paddleboarding) in ponds, rivers and other natural water sources is not allowed on the Crown lands of the New Forest.

Stay safe

As temperatures rise, don’t be tempted to cool off in the rivers and ponds. Not only is swimming in natural water sources prohibited, it poses hidden dangers and harmful bacteria.

  • Faeces from livestock
  • Leeches and algae
  • Submerged debris and sharp objects
  • Transfer of non-native species

Protecting the New Forest habitat is a legal requirement

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area for Conservation (SAC), maintaining the health of the waterways is a legal requirement. With the major threat of pollution and over-use, eroding banks and disturbance all affects the health of the water, with the plants and wildlife that rely on it, suffering. It’s important that we all respect the Forest whilst enjoying this special place safely.