The New Forest boasts an impressive array of uncommon and special butterfly species. Being...
Keep your distance from animals
The New Forest is well-known for its roaming ponies, donkeys, cattle, pigs and in some places, sheep. For their safety and your own please don’t feed or pet them; there is plenty of natural food and it’s best that they don’t come to rely on people’s attention. They may look friendly but they are unpredictable and can bite and kick, especially mares with foals.
Cattle may look friendly but are very protective of their calves. Please stay away from livestock and avoid getting between the animal and their young. If you have a dog, keep it under control.
The feeding of ponies is against the byelaws and giving them human food, or even things like carrots, causes serious issues in the New Forest. Some ponies and donkeys develop an unhealthy craving for human food and become aggressive with people who, quite rightly, try to keep their picnics to themselves. The animals also tend to gather near roads, looking for people with food, and this makes them more vulnerable to traffic accidents. Human food also gives the ponies colic (bad stomach ache) which is very painful and can be deadly.
As part of the ‘Keep your distance’ campaign, you can download the posters for display in your businesses by using the buttons below.
From beautiful scenery to free roaming animals, fascinating history to scenic coastline, there's something for everyone in the New Forest National Park. We'll help you find your way around the Forest and enjoy all it has to offer while caring for this fragile and important landscape.