Welcome to the New Forest: a beautiful, tranquil and environmentally sensitive place enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike. To help people know what is expected, local people have agreed this code of practice for dog walking throughout the New Forest National Park. It is supported by all the organisations on the New Forest Dogs Forum.
Stay safe and respect the environment
- Carry a lead for each dog in your care.
- All dogs must wear collars with ID tags with the owner’s name and address.
- Park only in designated car parks, not on a verge or in a gateway.
- Keep dogs on leads in and around car parks and alongside roads.
- Do not allow your dog to chase or attack livestock, deer or any other wildlife.
- Keep your distance from grazing animals, especially mothers and their young.
- Release your dog if threatened or chased by cattle, ponies or other animals to get to safety separately.
- Dogs must always be under effective control when on a public right of way (for example through farmland); keep them on the path and do not allow them to stray onto adjacent land.
- Keep your dog to the main tracks when birds are nesting on the ground (usually March – July).
- Throughout the year, avoid disturbing coastal birds by exercising your dogs away from them.
- Keep well away from any work taking place such as forestry and pony round-ups, and observe warning signage.
- Pick up after your dog; put bagged dog poo in a dog waste bin or litter bin, or take it home.
Be considerate to other forest users
- Always keep all dogs under effective control; if you cannot reliably and quickly call your dog back to you and away from people or other dogs, please keep it on a lead.
- Keep your dog from jumping up at or approaching other people, especially children, horse riders and cyclists and prevent excessive barking.
- Keep dogs away from picnics.
- Show respect for other dogs (especially those displaying yellow as this indicates they need space); if an approaching dog is on a lead, put yours on a lead too.
- Consider moving aside to let other walkers, cyclists and horse riders past.
For more information, see the New Forest National Park Authority web site.