Dog walking

A hedgehog sleeps amongst leaves

Help protect wildlife

In the wide open heathland areas many birds nest on or near the ground. Some of these, such as the curlew, lapwing, nightjar and woodlark, are very rare in southern England. Curlews and lapwings are particularly susceptible to disturbance by people and dogs – they fly off, leaving eggs or chicks vulnerable to chilling or predation by crows, or the adult birds simply give up trying to breed in the first instance.

Deer roam across the whole of the New Forest and dogs should not be allowed to chase them (on Forestry Commission Crown Land, it would be an offence against the byelaws). Intentional hunting of deer is a criminal offence under the Hunting Act 2004. Pregnant females and young fawns are particularly vulnerable to being attacked by dogs in spring and early summer and even just being chased is very stressful to deer. Also deer often cross main roads if chased, potentially causing a very serious road traffic accident.

Many coastal areas (e.g. mudflats, saltmarsh, lagoons and shingle beaches) are important for breeding, feeding and roosting ducks, waders and other birds. At any time of year, these birds can be badly affected if they are ‘hounded’ from one spot to another.

  1. Dog walking
  2. Great places to walk your dog
  3. Keep your dog safe
  4. Help protect wildlife (you are here)
  5. Please think of others
  6. New Forest Dog Walking Code
  7. Show you care


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