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Your home and garden

If your home is next to the Open Forest (where the commoners’ animals graze), you can play your part in preserving and protecting the New Forest National Park.

For help with boundaries, parking, lighting, building design and Forest animals, please read or download our advice leaflet.

Keeping livestock out of your garden

A few cattle, ponies or pigs can do a lot of damage to a carefully tended garden in a matter of minutes and they may be dangerous if they feel threatened or confined.

Livestock may also come to harm from eating poisonous garden plants, falling into swimming pools or coming into contact with greenhouses, children’s play equipment for example.

The animals will go onto private property in search of food, so it is important to check regularly that fencing and hedges are stock-proof and it is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep them out.

Helping our rivers and streams

For full advice, read our New Forest river catchment page and download our leaflet about septic tanks.

Discouraging deer

There are over 2,000 deer in the National Park and in some areas they are regarded as pests because of the damage they cause in gardens.

To keep out deer, fencing must be at least 1.5m tall with a maximum mesh size of 10cm by 10cm; it must also be staked to the ground or partially buried to prevent deer from pushing underneath. Electric fencing can deter larger deer species, but repellents such as lion dung and human hair are not effective despite popular opinion!

A good way to protect your favourite plants from deer while maintaining a healthy, diverse garden is to provide alternative plants for them to eat. By allowing brambles, rosebay willow-herb, rowan (mountain ash), dandelion, campion, hoary cinquefoil, knotweed, sweet lupin, redleg, ribwort and yarrow to grow, you may tempt them away from your favourite roses.

Very rarely a deer may become entangled in a fence or netting within a garden. It may become very distressed and in the New Forest you should call Forestry England on 0300 067 4600 (24hrs) for help. Depending on where you live or the severity of the situation, you may be asked to call the RSPCA or even the Police.

Advice for property owners adjoining the Open Forest

National Park Member


'Stay safe by taking note of warning signs and keeping away from work sites and vehicles.'

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