Road signs

Burley welcome sign

The New Forest is special in part because so much of it appears to be untouched by human hands. The open, natural landscape has survived in the midst of much-urbanised adjacent villages, towns and cities. In both environments, signs help us find our way safely, and with confidence. Many road signs provide useful information, enabling us to explore, learn about and enjoy the National Park. On the other hand, there is a danger that both essential and potentially useful signs could detract from the ‘unspoilt’ landscape.

Some road signs even have historic significance of their own, for example traditional direction signs and fingerposts.

These web pages reflect the fact that different people, groups and organisations have different aspirations, needs and responsibilities for signs. They are intended to help everyone understand how we can work together to best serve the needs of local people and visitors to the area in ways which are in keeping with national park status.

Except on the strategic road network, the vast majority of signs we would recognise as road signs are the responsibility of local highway authorities. In the New Forest National Park this means Hampshire County Council and Wiltshire Council. They in turn have to abide by the Road Traffic Signs Regulations approved by Government (Department for Transport (DfT)).

In the main, these regulations are very prescriptive – they ensure nationally (and internationally) recognised sign designs and safety standards are applied. Local variation and judgement is sometimes possible and in the New Forest special authorisation has been given by the DfT for the 30mph and 40mph zones which apply over much of the New Forest.

  1. Road signs (you are here)
  2. Report problems
  3. Signs on Crown land
  4. Speed limits
  5. Tourist signs
  6. Working together


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