There are up to 1,000 permanent and temporary ponds within the Forest and many are of national, or even international, importance for wildlife.
The variation in geology within the Forest results in a wide range of different pond types which in turn supports varied and rich animal and plant communities.
The waterbodies benefit from being in a landscape that is often managed through grazing, and that is often free from pollution originating from more intensive human activities.
As a result of its wildlife importance, the National Park has been identified as one of only a handful of ‘Important Areas for Ponds’ in England and is acknowledged as one of the most important areas for freshwater wildlife in Britain.
Some New Forest ponds are permanent but the majority are temporary, drying out in most summers but reoccurring in the same location every year following the onset of heavier rainfall. These create special habitats that support associated important and rare wetland plants and insects.
- 38 of the UK’s pond-associated priority species are found in the Forest, probably more than any other area.
- 20 of the nation’s rarest plant species (‘Red Data Book species’) can be found in Forest ponds
- Hundreds of the Forests ponds qualify as ‘Priority Ponds’ under the UK Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan
- One in three ponds in the Forest supports at least one nationally rare insect (‘Red Data Book species’).