Cycling responsibly in the New Forest
When you’re out and about having fun on your bike in the New Forest, it can be easy to forget that you’re in an environmentally sensitive place and a working forest, shared by local residents, visitors and animals roaming free. A bit of mutual respect and courtesy can ensure an enjoyable day has been had by all, so before you hop on on the saddle, take a few minutes to absorb the Highway Code and the New Forest Cycling Code:
• Ride positively and well clear of uneven road edges but with consideration for other road-users. To allow vehicles to overtake safely, leave gaps for them to pull into and move into single file when necessary and safe to do so. Never ride more than two abreast.
• Off road, cycle only on the way-marked network of Forestry Commission tracks, bridleways, byways, restricted byways and designated routes.
• Use our Journey Planner to plan your route, check for route closures, and try to be off Forest tracks by sunset.
• Be polite to other cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and residents.
• When passing people and animals, use your bell or call out a warning and allow them plenty of room. Be prepared to stop if necessary.
• Do not drop litter or feed the animals; human food and litter are a danger to them.
• Close gates behind you so the animals don’t stray
• Respect the quiet of the Forest.
• Pass animals slowly and to one side if possible.
• Take extra care near horse riders; a kick or fall from a horse could be fatal. Be prepared to stop. Use your bell or call out a friendly warning well in advance. When it is safe, pass wide and at walking pace, to one side only. Look out for any reaction from the horse.
• Keep to a safe speed, on and off road, particularly on narrow lanes, steep hills and bends. Look out for pot holes, poor surfaces and cattle grids.
• Look out for and obey safety signs. Do not pass large vehicles and trailers until you know it is safe to do so.
• Ensure you are visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing. Use lights after dark and in poor daytime visibility.
• Avoid the use of earphones.