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highland cattle by roadside
watch out new forest animals are about!
ponies by the roadside

Animal Safety In The New Forest

The New Forest national park is home to ponies, deer, lizards, birds and many more different kinds of animals. Everyone who visits the national park has a duty to ensure the safety of all of the wildlife, from the big highland cattle that roam the heathland to the birds nesting in the woodlands.

Remember ponies, donkeys, pigs and cattle in the New Forest all have right of way and are likely to cross roads at any time. On unfenced forest roads there is a maximum speed limit of 40mph, some of the animals also have reflective collars so it is important you keep an eye out on the darker evenings.
Visitors are reminded not to feed to ponies and failure to adhere to this byelaw results in a £200 fine and criminal record. For safety of both the animals in the forest and visitors we ask you admire them from a safe distance as even the gentlest looking pony can kick and bite.

If you have a road traffic collision with a New Forest animal it is an offence not to report it. Keep the animal emergency hotlines card on you at all times throughout your visit as this will provide you with all the contacts you may need, if you are to have a collision with an animal.

With around 3000 ponies roaming the New Forest they are a big attraction. The ponies are wild in the sense that they have the freedom to roam the forest but they are in fact owned by New Forest Commoners. The Verderers employ Agisters, and it is their duty to manage the Commoners stock, this includes attending accidents involving their stock, making sure the stock is healthy and much more.

If you come across a sick, injured or dead pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep (other than one involved in a road traffic accident), call the Verderers Office on 023 8028 2052 during normal office hours, or 023 8028 3141 at other times. For sick or injured deer, ring the Forestry Commission on 023 8028 3141.