The New Forest Code

We are passionate about the New Forest and supporting the local communities and authorities in their protection of this unique and beautiful area. At the Cottage Lodge we are committed to its conservation and encouraging eco friendly visitors following the New Forest Code.

We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and as ambassadors for the New Forest we are keen to do our part and educate visitors in the New Forest Code. We make time to chat about the National Park with our guests, friends and followers. It’s easy to do when we have so much beauty to talk about, whether it be a lovely place to walk or cycle, or even an activity such as horse riding or geocaching We encourage all we speak to to do their bit and be New Forest friendly.

Be New Forest Friendly

We know that some people aren’t used to wide open natural spaces and also aren’t very considerate when they go out in nature. Visitors that come to and pass through the forest mean an awful lot to our region and livelihoods. That’s why as a community and a destination, we have come together. It’s very important to us all that we try to educate as many people as possible how to be a forest friendly visitor and have people following the New Forest code. We are also making sure that people are aware that there are ways provided to react and report when behaviours occur that disrupt the wellbeing of the national park around us.

There are 9 ways to help when you visit the New Forest:

  • Please keep your distance from the animals. We know it’s tempting, but please don’t feed or touch them
  • Drive with care-animals can be on the road day and night
  • Take home any rubbish and dog waste for disposal
  • Please don’t light any fires or BBQ’s
  • Keep your dogs under control. Don’t let dogs approach or chase any animals
  • Park only in car parks (not on verges or in front of gates)
  • No wild camping
  • Stick to the permitted cycle tracks
  • Help maintain wildlife by keeping to the main tracks when exploring

Why do we need to do these things?


  • The free roaming animals are found throughout the forest and can be on the roads or grazing near them day and night. We ask you to drive carefully and respecting not only a reduced speed but passing wide and slow near animals and be prepared to stop to let them pass or extra vigilant to running herds or large groups.
  • Not to touch them or feed them as they are essentially raised to roam wild and live without humans. Feeding and touching them encourages some bad behaviour’s such as aggression and loss of natural diets and instincts. Feeding them from your car or whilst you picnic encourages them to learn to be a nuisance to get food or attention which encourages them near cars which ultimately is dangerous for the animal.

Using the New Forest for recreation

  • Walking and cycling are some of the best ways to enjoy the forest’s beauty and there are miles of tracks and pathways for you to enjoy from old logging routes, disused railway lines and traditional paths. Guaranteed to immerse you in the beauty of the forest.
  • Please stick to paths when exploring especially on bikes to maintain the area for future generations.
  • When walking your dog(s) always keep them under close control and on leads when around live stock. Animals are nervous of dogs and can panic get stressed or react violently where they perceive a threat.
  • Always pick up and dispose of your dog mess and take any litter home with you. Animals can become very ill if they graze on left litter and rubbish.


  • With thousands of people using the New Forest it’s crucial that some rules are followed to maintain the forest for future visits. Arriving to park at popular areas, please always use designated car parks or lay-bys to park. It’s super destructive to park vehicles on verges and heathland. It’s proven that vehicles churn up the verges and that destroys the space and the natural habitat. If there isn’t room to park where you’d planned, there’s certain to be another car park not too far away.
  • Never park in front of a gate. It might seem feasible when you arrive but gates\are used to access the forest by rangers and commoners to get to their animals and in case of fire or accident by the emergency services.

Camping, BBQ’s and Fires

  • Sadly it is not permitted to wild camp in the New Forest as the National park needs to be protected. So if you are not staying at Cottage Lodge there are some fantastic options to stay at these recommended campsites
  • Fires and BBQ’s are highly dangerous to the forest and can be devastating. It is forbidden to have camp fires and BBQ’s most of the year but especially in the spring summer when we are at high fire risk.

Download your copy of the New Forest Code

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