Roadside signs appeal to people to look after the New ForestPUBLISHED ON: 6 AUGUST 2021
Tips to help people care for the New Forest are appearing on new roadside signs at key gateways to the National Park.
The temporary digital signs are part of an action plan put in place by local organisations to encourage people to care for the Forest and care for each other.
The digital signs are on the A337 at Cadnam, A35 at Ashurst and A35 near Hinton and display messages encouraging people to follow the New Forest Code, keep their distance from the animals, to take litter home, park only in car parks and not to use barbecues or fires.
The signs will be in place for three months and are jointly funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, New Forest District Council and Forestry England.
Prof Gavin Parker, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest is an extraordinarily beautiful place and has the highest level of international protection because it is so important for wildlife.
‘We welcome over 15 million visits each year and it is vital that people respect the countryside and don’t destroy the very thing they come to see. As we have realised more and more this year or so, getting outside into nature is important for our health and wellbeing and visitors are also important for our local economy and communities. We hope these signs, as part as a package of initiatives, will help people enjoy the National Park safely and protect the New Forest at the same time.’
The action plan includes a package of measures ranging from increased ranger and emergency service patrols and a greater focus on visitor hotspots, improved signage and a Forest-wide barbecue and fire ban. The organisations are also working closely with the tourism sector on a visitor communications campaign focused on the New Forest Code; support for the working Forest of commoners; and a task force leading the action plan is meeting regularly.
Cllr David Russell, New Forest District Council’s Portfolio Holder for People and Places, said: ‘You can’t visit the New Forest and not be won-over by its unique charm, and I believe everyone wants to do their best when they are here to protect it for future visitors and generations. The use of these prominent message boards will help visitors get the best out of their time here by following the New Forest Code.’
Sam Jones, Head of Recreation and Public Affairs, Forestry England South District, said: ‘It’s been incredible for our team to see so much support for helping to look after the Forest during this extraordinary staycation summer. Joining forces with other Forest organisations, the police and emergency services, and so many dedicated community groups and individuals has had a hugely positive impact. The new highly visible electronic signs will help to support these efforts and encourage everyone spending time here to follow the New Forest Code.’