We support cycling in the National Park, whether for work or pleasure, to enjoy its special qualities.
The New Forest is also a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks.
Management of cycling and cycling events in the New Forest is not the sole responsibility of any one organisation:
- The Forestry Commission is responsible for the upkeep of the network of waymarked gravel tracks on Crown Land (almost 50% of the National Park). Most of these are tracks designed for lorries removing timber after tree felling operations, but the Commission permit a network of them to be used for cycling in consultation with the Verderers.
- The Highway Authorities (Hampshire County Council, Wiltshire Council and Highways England) are responsible for roads, traffic signs and road markings. This includes public rights of way but excludes private roads.
- The Police are responsible for enforcing the law with regard to cycling (and driving) on the roads and the Forestry Commission is responsible for enforcing its bylaws.
- The Public Events and Safety Advisory Group (SAG), coordinated by New Forest District Council, provides advice to cycle event organisers and collates a list of known upcoming events. Members of the SAG include New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council Highways, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and South Central Ambulance Service.
Cycling code and charter
In 2013, our members noted concerns amongst local residents about cycle events, particularly regarding the scale of some of the larger events and the behaviour of a minority of participants. The behaviour of a minority of local residents had also been unacceptable.
Although we own no land, do not manage any tracks or roads and have no authority over other organisations, we were able to facilitate the development of:
- New Forest Cycling Code, designed for all cycling (on and off roads, individually and in events). This code is ideal for inclusion in literature and online communications designed for local people and visitors.
- New Forest Cycle Event Organisers Charter that sets out how events can best be managed and accommodated in the New Forest. Most cycle event organisers now comply with the majority of the charter. Feedback (positive or negative) about particular cycle events can be given via the register of events on the webpage of the Safety Advisory Group; find the relevant event in the register, click ‘feedback’ and enter your comments.