The New Forest National Park is an excellent place to enjoy outdoor recreation and various organisations provide recreation facilities, especially those that own or manage land.
These range from car parks and visitor centres to waymarked walking trails and cycle routes.
The National Park Authority helps in a range of ways, including accessing and providing additional funding and ‘signposting’ people to locations that best meet their needs and interests.
We also facilitate forums through which different organisations can agree a coordinated approach to specific issues, and the overall way in which the New Forest can continue to provide recreational experiences in the future.
There are regular discussions focused on topics such as dog walking, cycling, horse riding, reducing animal accidents on the roads, reducing the feeding of commoners’ animals.
The key forum for discussing overall strategic opportunities is the Recreation Management Strategy Steering Group which has representatives from the Forestry Commission, Hampshire County Council, National Park Authority, New Forest District Council, Natural England and the Verderers. There is also a wider Advisory Group and of course public consultation where appropriate.
The Steering Group’s main aim is:
To agree an overall plan for where within and around the National Park we should encourage people to go to enjoy outdoor recreation, and how this should be achieved.
The aim would be to both improve the New Forest’s recreational experience and enhance the other special qualities (including its rich wildlife, tranquility and commoning tradition), and to avoid inadvertently damaging the special qualities which people come to the New Forest to enjoy.
To help the Steering Group progress its work, a recreation management memorandum of understanding was endorsed by the group’s constituent organisations.
The next stage is the Future Forest consultation which will guide the production of an update to the Recreation Management Strategy 2010-2030.