Joint press release from New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry England, New Forest District Council and Go New Forest
New Forest organisations are calling on people to ‘care for the Forest, care for each other’ in a joint action plan to manage the increasing visitor numbers expected this year. The group aims to ensure the New Forest can play a positive and active role in helping people recover from lockdown in the great outdoors while also caring for this special place.
The plan has been developed jointly by Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority, New Forest District Council, and tourism body Go New Forest with support from The Verderers, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Hampshire Constabulary.
Last year was exceptional in many ways and saw greater numbers of people spending time in the countryside. Unfortunately, some did not respect these landscapes, and the New Forest, like many other places around the country, experienced anti-social behaviour.
Forest organisations, emergency services and communities worked to address these issues.
Teams were pooled to increase the impact of patrols, over 50 local retailers agreed to ban disposable BBQs, and over 400 New Forest Ambassadors were recruited with parish councils to help support the Forest. Joint patrols and putting hundreds of warning stickers on vehicles were used to discourage verge parking and gateway blocking, and joint communications about caring for the Forest reached over six million people.
With large numbers of people expected again this year as lockdown measures are gradually eased, the plan focuses on sharing resources in a concerted effort to support visitors to the area and encourage care for the Forest amongst all those spending time here.