Planning your visit

Be especially safety conscious when working near water

Staying safe & healthy

The New Forest National Park is a fabulous place to visit but there are a number of things worth bearing in mind to make sure you and your group stay safe and healthy.

Risk Assessment
There are risks associated with almost anything, including taking groups into the outdoor environment. However, these risks are often minimal and can be reduced even further through careful planning in advance and management during the visit. If your visit is being led by an education provider they will be able to provide full risk assessment and details of any national governing body qualifications required.

The National Park Education Service recommends conducting a pre visit and carries out full risk assessments for each of the sites that we use. We are happy to advise on suitable locations for your group to visit and to share some of generic risk assessments to assist with your own. Below are some fo the main local risks to consider.

Weather and the environment
Although it is low-lying the New Forest can be exposed to the elements. It is therefore important that group members come dressed appropriately for the weather and bring spare, waterproof or warm clothing as necessary. Sturdy, waterproof footwear is recommended. It is useful to remember that some of the environments in the New Forest, including the valley mires, bogs and coastal locations, can be potentially hazardous. A pre-visit and risk assessment are therefore essential.

Although ponies and other livestock appear tame and are accustomed to people, they are semi-wild and may bite or kick, so it's sensible to take care and certainly to avoid standing behind them! It is also important not to feed or stroke the livestock as it may make them aggressive and cause them to demand food. There is plenty of natural food for them in the Forest.

Ticks and Lyme disease
Lyme disease is transmitted through bites by infected ticks, which are most likely to occur in bracken and bushy areas. It is very unlikely that the infection would be transmitted in the first few hours so early removal is a very effective prevention measure. Other prevention measures include keeping skin covered and wearing shoes/boots rather than sandals.

For further information and guidance about ticks, preventing bites and what to do if you are bitten visit NHS direct or the Health Protection Agency website.

Weil’s disease
Also known as Leptospirosis, Weil’s disease is spread through contact with animal urine, in particular rats. Any cuts or broken skin should be covered with waterproof plasters prior to contact with streams and rivers. Hands should also be washed after contact with these environments.

For further information and guidance about Leptospirosis visit NHS direct or the Health Protection Agency website.

The adder is the only poisonous snake native to Britain. They are not aggressive and will only bite if they are disturbed. If you get bitten go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

For more information visit NHS Direct.

  1. Planning your visit
  2. Getting permission
  3. Reducing your impact
  4. Staying safe & healthy (you are here)


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