Animal Safety

The New Forest is home to ponies, deer, reptiles, 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.

New Forest Animals Emergency Hotline - reporting an incident : 

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

  • Verderer's Office (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) Tel: 023 8028 2052
    Sick, injured, distressed or dead pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep

  • Forestry England (24hrs) Tel: 0300 067 4600
    Sick, injured, distressed or dead pony, cow, donkey, pig, sheep or deer

Learn more about our New Forest Wildlife here.

Please note, from 1 July 2023 two new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) are being introduced to the New Forest, whereby the use of BBQs & fires and the feeding and petting of ponies & donkeys are all banned, with those failing to comply liable to a fixed penalty fine or prosecution. 

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