New Forest Code and guidelines for visitors updated for 2023

Planning to visit the New Forest this summer?

Welcome! Plan ahead and respect our beautiful and fragile National Park.

Swans and cygnets on pondUpdate June 2023 

As we enjoy the long days of summer, soon after sunrise and just before sunset are arguably the most special times to see the New Forest at its utterly beautiful best.

It's pretty good in between times as well though!

We are all pleased and proud that an ever increasing number of visitors wants to come and share our wonderful National Park - and it's great for New Forest businesses.

We urge visitors please to seek out the local independents, to buy New Forest Marque and other local produce, and support our independent shops and eateries to give you a real taste of the Forest while supporting National Park communities.

The Forest is fragile, its rare wildlife must be protected and then visitors and residents alike can continue to enjoy it.

Below is some helpful information to guide you as to what we mean, meanwhile if you don't already receive it please do sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter about which subscribers send us appreciative feedback weekly too


Updated rules for 2023: feeding/petting ponies and the use of barbecues banned

This summer, local people and visitors are being encouraged to make sure they know about new measures in the New Forest to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable time here.

Two new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have been introduced by New Forest District Council supported by Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers of the New Forest. The use of BBQs and fires in the Forest and feeding and petting ponies or donkeys are all banned, with those failing to comply liable to a fixed penalty fine or prosecution.

Their introduction follows repeated fire damage to the Forest caused by campfires and BBQs, and the growing risk of wildfires due to increasingly hotter and drier conditions. The PSPO bans the lighting of fires of any type including BBQs and any outdoor cooking facilities or equipment. It also makes it an offence to place, throw or drop items likely to cause a fire such as lit cigarettes.

Concern over the safety of the public and Forest animals, following injuries to the people and animal deaths resulting from being fed human food, created the need to better manage public interactions with these free-roaming animals. The PSPO relating to this activity bans feeding and petting ponies or donkeys on the Forest.  

Teams from Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers of the New Forest will be patrolling and engaging with the public to explain more about the new rules. Signs and information will be in place across the Forest. Along with other key things to know about visiting the area, the new rules will also be highlighted in the New Forest Code, widely publicised across the area and shared by local tourism businesses with many visitors before and during their stay.  

The new orders apply from 1 July and where necessary can be enforced by issuing fixed penalty notices of £100, a sum which can rise to £1,000 following a successful prosecution.

The New Forest Code introduced two years ago request us all please to:

  • Keep your distance from the animals - don't feed or touch them

  • Take home litter and dog waste

  • No fires or barbecues

  • donkeys beside the pondKeep 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

Gavin Parker, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said:

"Abiding by the New Forest code will help ensure that the environment of the Forest stays in good shape and that the life and work of this special place prospers."

People can further help nature and reduce their carbon footprint by walking, cycling and using the New Forest Tour as much as possible when in the park.


NEW FOREST CODE updated 2023

Lymington: Georgian market town and famous yachting centre

You will almost certainly want to visit the Georgian market town (market Saturdays) and Solent sailing mecca of Lymington while you are in the New Forest. In its sheltered position on the western bank of the beautiful Lymington river it's been an important settlement since the Iron Age. For many years Lymingtonians have made their living from the sea or the river - as boatbuilders, fishermen, sailors and in past centuries as salt workers and even smugglers! Nowadays it's a highly desirable town in which to live and with its bustling Quay, alleyways to explore, many independent shops and eateries and the brilliant St Barbe New Forest Museum and Art Gallery it has lots to offer to the visitor. Do sign up for our free Weekly What's On! See above!  


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