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Help record verge and gateway parking

Can you help us to record verge and gateway parking?

What’s the problem?

Since Covid-19 travel restrictions were eased, many more people are driving into the New Forest to get fresh air and exercise.

While we want people to enjoy the area, on warm, sunny days some car parks have been full by mid-morning and people arriving after this have parked on nearby verges or gateways.

Verges on Crown Land and adjacent commons are all designated as SSSI habitats and the vegetation is easily damaged by parked cars – and the gateways are needed for access. This overflow parking is therefore a real problem.

A long-term solution?

Although Forestry England staff, NPA rangers and the Police are working together to address issues as they arise, we also need to look at longer-term solutions, including the possibility of some redistribution of parking capacity. This could include reducing parking spaces where they’re not needed, or where adjacent habitats are particularly vulnerable, and increasing capacity at more popular locations better suited to larger numbers of people.

You can help

Any redistribution of car parking capacity would need to be based on evidence, relating both to recreational pressures and to the sensitivity of habitats.

We’re therefore asking  people to help gather verge and gateway parking data in a systematic way, ideally over a period of several months.

If you would like to help, please read the instructions below and enter your data on the form at the bottom of this page.

Instructions for completing the data entry form 

  • Do not put yourself at risk when counting vehicles, e.g. do not walk beside roads or in car parks where there is a risk of an accident. Counts should be done from a vehicle only when a passenger can count the parked vehicles
  • We are initially asking for counts of vehicles overflowing from specific car parks, focusing on those within the Crown Lands and adjacent commons. We may extend this to include locations that are between or more distant from car parks – and other parts of the National Park
  • We are not asking you to make extra journeys to do the counts
  • We don’t need any car registration numbers, details of drivers or of individuals providing the data
  • Do not enter counts of vehicles inside car parks or on their access tracks – count only those that are parked along the public highway
  • We are particularly interested in trends over a period of weeks/months
  • Counts at peak times of day are likely to be of most use, although counts at other times of day may add useful context

What will happen next?

You can read more about the wider plan for managing recreation in the New Forest by looking at the Managing Recreation section of our website. The car parking data will be analysed alongside other available information (such as weather conditions) and used by the Recreation Management Strategy steering group as it develops options for managing car parking across the New Forest into the future.

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