The New Forest is a special place, full of natural beauty and is home to a diverse range of wildlife and habitats. With rare animals, flora and fauna, several ancient and historical spaces, and being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it’s super important to preserve and protect this beautiful location.

An easy way to ensure that you’re always looking after the New Forest while you’re out and about exploring the forest is to follow the New Forest Code. Here’s a breakdown of the Code…

Three deer hiding behind gorse within the heather in the New ForestKeep your distance from the animals – Don’t feed or touch them

Interacting with the free-roaming ponies, donkeys, cows, and pigs can disrupt their natural behaviours and diet. They have plenty of natural food in the forest, and feeding them human food can cause health issues and dependency on humans for food. Getting too close or touching the animals can lead to them feeling stressed, and they could potentially engage in aggressive behaviour. We suggest admiring them from a distance and letting them roam free and uninterrupted!
* In 2023, a Public Space Protection Order was put in place against touching and feeding the animals. Failure to comply could result in a penalty or fine.

PigsPark only in car parks

Plenty of car parks are dotted around the New Forest, leading to winding walking and cycling pathways and stunning views. Parking on verges or undesignated areas can damage the fragile habitats and plant life of the New Forest. Also, using designated car parks ensures that emergency services and Forestry England have full and unobstructed access to the forest.

Drive with care – animals on the road

The animals have the right of way on our roads! When driving, it is crucial to adhere to speed limits and stay vigilant, especially during dusk and dawn, when animals are usually more active. The animals, especially ponies and donkeys on the roadside and deer, can be unpredictable and step out onto the road at any time.

Ponies wandering on road in front of cars in the New ForestTake home litter and dog waste

Leaving litter and dog waste in the New Forest can harm wildlife. Animals can ingest or get entangled in the litter, leading to injury. By taking your litter home, you are ensuring the New Forest remains a safe haven for its animals and nature and keeping it looking magnificent!

No fire and barbecues

We wish to prevent disasters such as wildfires, which can devastate the forest and pose a danger to both wildlife and humans. Hence, there is a strict ban on fires and barbecues in the New Forest. Picnics are a lovely way to enjoy the outdoors while eating, with no cooking required, or explore the long list of incredible local pubs, restaurants, and cafes.
* In 2023, a Public Space Protection Order was put in place against fires and barbecues. Failure to comply could result in a penalty or fine.

Picnic Benches in ancient woodland in the New ForestHelp wildlife by keeping to the main tracks

Stick to the main tracks when walking in the New Forest to minimise your impact on the environment and help protect the unique wildlife of the New Forest. We have over 140 miles of designated walking paths, so there is plenty to explore while keeping to a pathway!

Stick to the permitted cycle tracks

It’s also just as important to keep to the waymarked cycle tracks when on a bike ride in the New Forest. Cycling is an ideal way to explore the forest, but it’s essential to stick to the cycle paths, helping prevent erosion and protecting wildlife.

Keep dogs under control - Don’t let dogs approach or chase animals

It’s key to keep your dogs under control and on a lead in sensitive areas to ensure the safety of both your furry friend and the wildlife in the New Forest. Dogs, by nature, may show an interest in and even chase wildlife, which could cause stress and injury to the animals—and nobody wants that to happen!

Walking dogs on leads by free roaming ponies in the New ForestNo wild camping

The New Forest is full of amazing dedicated campsites that provide a sustainable way to stay and experience the peace of the New Forest. Wild camping can damage habitats and increase litter. Stay with local campsites!

Red Shoot Camping ParkAdditional information – Animal safety numbers/emergency hotlines

If you ever find yourself in an unforeseen circumstance where you need to report an accident or an injured or distressed animal, please use the contacts below:

- POLICE - 999 (emergency) 101 (non-emergency) (24hrs)
Road traffic accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, pig, sheep, dog or deer

- VERDERERS’ OFFICE - 023 8028 2052 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
 Sick, injured or distressed pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep (not deer)

- FORESTRY ENGLAND - 0300 067 4600 (24hrs)
 Sick, injured or distressed pony, cow, donkey, pig, sheep or deer


Thank you for following the New Forest Code and helping us look after our wonderful nature and wildlife!

Follow the New Forest Code