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The New Forest is a beautiful place, full of great views and intriguing sights. Situated in a busy part of the United Kingdom, driving through parts of the New Forest can become congested, especially at busy times. It’s for this reason we encourage visitors to use public transport where possible.

If you do decide to travel by car, take your time when driving around the National Park. Many of the New Forest’s roads are narrow, and drivers will regularly come across cyclists, horse riders, walkers and animals in the road.

To access the many electric vehicle charging points installed in car parks and other locations across the National Park, use Zap Map’s interactive map.

On 29 January 2022, the Highway Code was updated to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses. Visit the Government website to learn more about these changes and read our advice on driving in the New Forest.

Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly to avoid a pothole or if the road edge is poor. Be especially careful when cyclists are in a group; be sure you can pass them all before starting to overtake.

Remember that it is recommended good practice for cyclists to ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb. At times they may, quite rightly, ride in an assertive position in the middle of the lane. Wait until it is safe to pass.

Horses being ridden are easily startled. For your own safety, that of the horse and its rider, slow right down when approaching. Pass only when you can give them a wide berth and do so slowly. Be especially careful when horse riders are in a group; be sure you can pass them all before starting to overtake.

When driving towards cyclists, horse riders or walkers in the dark, dip your headlights so they can see where they are going.

Don’t sound your horn when approaching cyclists, walkers or horse riders from behind as it may startle them and put them at greater risk.

Animals have right of way! It is the driver’s responsibility to slow down and give way to them. Most accidents involve local drivers who perhaps forget that one day a pony will step out in front of them.

Animal emergency hotline card

Advice for New Forest drivers

Sustainable Visitor Experience Officer


'Enjoy bird's-eye views of the National Park on the open-top New Forest Tour.'

More New Forest Travel

From beautiful scenery to free roaming animals, fascinating history to scenic coastline, there's something for everyone in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire. 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.

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