Trhree ponies and one foal standing around a tree

You can care for the New Forest, its wildlife, and free-roaming animals by following the nine simple steps in the New Forest Code.

The New Forest is a spectacular, yet fragile landscape – a working Forest with special habitats which are a haven for rare wildlife species.

As you travel across the National Park you will see ponies, cattle, donkeys, pigs and sheep. The animals all belong to people called commoners, who have the right to turn out their livestock onto the open Forest.

The New Forest Marque has members who are commoners, plus many of our retail and hospitality members sell produce from commoners.

Grazing by commoners’ animals shapes and maintains the New Forest mosaic of habitats, making it accessible and very special. The free-roaming animals could be grazing on gorse, wandering through villages or even crossing roads. That is why it is so important to drive carefully in the Forest and stay alert at all times.

By following the code you can help protect the Forest’s animals and plants. The code’s nine simple steps are:

  • Keep your distance from the animals – don’t feed or touch them*
  • Take home litter and dog waste
  • No fires or barbecues*
  • Keep dogs under control. Don’t let dogs approach or chase any animals
  • Park only in car parks
  • No wild camping
  • Stick to the permitted cycle tracks
  • Drive with care – animals on the road!
  • Help wildlife by keeping to the main tracks.

*Failure to comply may result in a fixed penalty of £100 or being taken to court and a fine of up to £1,000.

You can help share how to care for the Forest with the New Forest National Park Authority’s toolkit. The toolkit includes a range of downloads, as well as exhibition posters and videos, so you can print, post and promote the New Forest Code.

New Forest Code toolkit