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Dog walking

The National Park Authority recognises the many benefits of dog walking, especially to the health and well-being of their owners!

It also recognises that not everyone loves dogs – and that in some circumstances, dog walking may conflict with other aspects of the Forest.

The New Forest Dogs Forum works to help New Forest organisations with particular interests in dogs to work together.

This group aims to:

  • recognise and promote the benefits of dog walking in the New Forest
  • collect and share data on dog walking and dog-related issues to enable evidence based approaches
  • discuss and implement initiatives that make dog walkers and their dogs feel welcome, encourage responsible behaviour and avoid conflict with the special qualities of the National Park
  • share responsibilities and resources, and work in partnership where appropriate
  • minimise mixed messages, duplication of effort and missed opportunities through a joined up approach.

The following organisations are represented on the Forum: New Forest Dog Owners Group, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council, National Trust, Natural England, New Forest Association, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Commoners Defence Association, RSPB, Test Valley Borough Council and Solent Recreation Mitigation Partnership.

Since its formation the Forum has proved very effective at encouraging joint working between the organisations that attend. Mutual understanding has greatly improved, enabling a positive approach to addressing areas of common concern.

The Forum is an excellent place for individual organisations to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. Good examples of this liaison include:

  • the content of National Park web pages about dogs
  • Dog Walking Code 
  • car window stickers
  • the leaflet ‘Enjoy the New Forest with your dog’ 
  • joint events aimed at encouraging responsible dog walking
  • signage and other work to reduce disturbance of ground nesting birds
  • engagement with commercial dog walkers.

If you have suggestions or information for the Dogs Forum, please email: dogsforum@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

Find out more about enjoying dog walking in the New Forest.



Oliver
Crosthwaite-Eyre
National Park Chairman

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'We must all work together to manage recreation and ensure the Forest is fit for the future.'

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