Enhancing the natural environment
Future Forest – Recreation management in and around the New Forest National Park
Some big issues are facing the New Forest in the coming years.
The organisations with the main remit for both protecting the National Park and enabling people to enjoy it need your help to develop a new and updated suite of focused actions so that, across the National Park and beyond we can achieve a net gain for the working and natural landscape and for the recreational experience.
|Hampshire Country Council
|National Park Authority
|New Forest District Council
We want high quality recreation experiences for residents and visitors without damaging our natural assets.
The organisations with the main remit for both protecting the National Park and enabling people to enjoy it are developing a new and updated suite of focussed actions so that, across the National Park and beyond we can achieve a net gain for the working and natural landscape and for the recreational experience, by:
- protecting the spectacular, yet fragile, wildlife-rich landscape that people come to see
- managing recreation for local people and our visitors.
We also need to use limited resources wisely.
The Forest infrastructure (campsites, cattlegrids, car parks etc) put in place in the 1960s and ’70s was a significant and pivotal moment in the Forest’s history. Many believe we’re now at that point again.
If they aren’t well managed, outdoor activities (such as walking, cycling, horse riding, camping or parking a vehicle) can accidentally cause damage to the very places that people want to enjoy.
Over time this harm could:
- Cause erosion of sensitive habitats such as ponds, stream banks, lawns, bogs, mires, chalk streams, coastal mudflats and ancient woodlands
- Disturb rare breeding, feeding and roosting birds on coastal mudflats and saltmarsh, or open heathland
- Impact on other rare and threatened species such as wild gladioli, smooth snakes and southern damselflies
- Erode paths and grazed verges
- Reduce the tranquillity in remote areas
- Cause more litter
- Interfere with important Forest management such as commoning or forestry operations.
The partners want to find ways to work together to encourage and enable people to enjoy the New Forest and nearby areas in ways and in locations that minimise these negative consequences.
- Around 34,000 people live in the New Forest
- Sixteen million people live within a 90 minute drive of the National Park
- It is estimated that we receive over 15 million day visits a year
- In response to housing needs, neighbouring local authorities are currently progressing Local Plans which will provide for around 50,000 extra homes (about 110,000 people) in areas close to the New Forest in the next 15-20 years.
Seven priority objectives were identified following a consultation in 2017:
Raising awareness and understanding – ensuring recreation is sustainable, wherever it takes place
- Objective 1: Convey the things that make the New Forest special to both visitors and local people in more consistent and effective ways, so that they understand the importance of making responsible recreation choices.
- Objective 2: Address significant and/or widespread negative impacts caused by recreation in the most appropriate, proportionate and effective ways.
- Objective 3: Reduce the barriers that limit participation in beneficial outdoor recreation among those who need it most.
Sustainable recreation in the right places – managing where it happens
- Objective 4: Achieve a net gain for the New Forest’s working and natural landscape and for the recreational experience by influencing where recreation takes place.
Finding funding – and using it effectively
- Objective 5: Increase the level of funding available for recreation management so that it is sufficient to address both existing and upcoming needs.
Data and evidence – to help guide the work
- Objective 6: Collate data and evidence to help inform the ongoing management of recreation.
Adaptive monitoring and implementation – keeping the strategy alive
- Objective 7: Regularly review progress against agreed recreation management actions and adapt forward plans to protect the special qualities of the National Park and enable people to enjoy and benefit from them.
In summer 2018 a consultation was held on 25 proposed actions to improve recreation management by protecting the New Forest’s rare habitats and landscape while also improving the visitor experience.Download Draft Actions PDF
- Autumn 2018: analysis of consultation responses
- Early 2019: publish Recreation Management Strategy update with lead organisations for agreed actions
- 2019/2020: progress with actions