Forest organisations are calling for people to respect the New Forest National Park this October half term break.
As large numbers of people are expected over the week-long school holiday, visitors are asked to enjoy their stay safely and help protect the rare habitats and wildlife of the National Park.
Increased numbers of National Park Authority rangers will be on patrol working with other forest organisations to share the special qualities of the New Forest and ensure people are enjoying the protected landscape responsibly.
Visitors are asked to book ahead with businesses before they arrive, and drivers are urged to slow down and #add3minutes to their journeys as the nights draw in to avoid animal accidents.
The highly-successful New Forest Ambassador scheme has already had 320 people sign up to pick litter as well as monitoring issues and sharing the New Forest Code. More free litter picking kits are available to those wanting to do their bit to care for the Forest.
New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Gavin Parker said: ‘The New Forest is a world capital for wildlife with many rare species and free-roaming animals owned by people called commoners. By following a few simple measures to respect the landscape and local communities, people can stay safe, protect wildlife and habitats, and have a rewarding half term break.’
If you’re planning to visit the New Forest, here are some top tips for a safe trip:
Before you set off:
- Familiarise yourself with the New Forest Code – The National Park is a special place with its own code to supplement the Countryside Code to keep you and the New Forest safe.
- Pre-book campsites and accommodation, attractions and restaurants – In line with Government guidance, accommodation and attractions are only open to those who have pre-booked. The 10 Camping in the Forest campsites are not opening until April. Wild camping is not allowed in the New Forest, nor overnight stays in car parks.
- Some New Forest facilities remain closed.
- BBQs or fires of any kind are not allowed anywhere on the Forest.
- Plan your journey.
- Check which visitor facilities are open.
When you arrive:
- #add3minutes to your journey – Animal accidents increase after the clocks go back and the nights draw in. Slowing down from 40mph to 30mph can drastically reduce accidents involving animals.
- Respect the landscape and local communities – Follow the New Forest Code so the fragile National Park stays beautiful, its rare wildlife is protected and visitors and residents alike can continue to enjoy it.
- Follow social distancing guidance and hygiene measures – Wash hands regularly and wear a face covering unless exempt.
- Support local businesses – Buy New Forest Marque local produce and support our independent shops and eateries to give you a real taste of the Forest while supporting National Park communities.