New Forest Wildlife
The forest is a living and working place where ponies and cattle freely graze the land and help to keep the patchwork of different habitats intact. Deeper in the forest, wild deer browse beneath canopies of mighty oak and beech – natural scenes unchanged by the modern world. The open heaths of The New Forest are ideal basking grounds for adders and grass snakes, and the many pools dotted around the area make ideal conditions for frogs, toads and lizards. All of these can be seen at The New Forest Reptile Centre, which also offers woodland trails. There are dozens of events throughout the year to help you get close to nature – from Dawn Chorus Walks to Deer Watches.
Try exploring the forest at different times of year and at different times of day. The forest is most atmospheric at dusk – you also stand the best chance of seeing deer, bats and nightjars.
People who live here will tell you that The New Forest is a lively, working landscape with many secrets to discover. The only way to reveal The New Forest’s hidden gems and truly appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the forest is to get out there and explore. Try to escape from the confines of the car and head out on foot, bicycle or on horseback to get a more intimate feel of the forest, its coast and villages.
The New Forest is a genuine walker’s paradise with many circular and linear routes. There are many picnic and toilet facilities, all of which are carefully sited to allow visitors safe and easy access to a variety of forest landscapes. All year round there are guided walks where local experts will tell you about the history, geology, wildlife and folklore beneath your feet.
You can even explore the forest on a ranger-led New Forest event. The New Forest is a fantastic place for cycling with miles and miles of traffic free tracks leading you right into the heart of the forest with few hills to worry about.
Together with the National Park Authority, the Tourism Industry and the local community, we are consistently working towards making The New Forest a car free destination, therefore reducing the impact of visitors to the area while maintaining the beauty for future generations.