The open landscape of the New Forest where ponies, cattle, donkeys, sheep and pigs roam free is one of the distinctive features of the New Forest National Park. This is one of the few areas in England, especially in the busy and developed south, where drivers often come face-to-face with animals on the road, both in daylight and at night.
The animals' free grazing activity across the forest helps shape the landscape we know and love today.
You can see how the number of accidents each year has changed since 1985 by downloading the data sheet.
Every animal killed is a great loss to the Forest, and to its owner. However, the overall trend since 1991 is clearly downwards and most years since 2007 have had fewer than 100 animals killed and injured. The number of animals grazing on the Forest has risen significantly in recent years, which increases the likelihood of accidents, but the number and percentage killed was at its lowest ever in 2015. 2016 saw a rise in the number of accidents, injuries and deaths but the percentage killed was smaller only in 2015.
The challenge is, of course, to reduce the number of accidents every year, so we are always looking for new ideas. In 2017 the Highway Authority plans to improve road warning signage around Brockenhurst and Sway where there are some particularly high risk roads. We’re also developing a scheme to enable local employers to encourage their employees to drive more carefully.
You will find various maps of animal accidents over the last five years (although 2016 data have yet to be incorporated).