Wild camping clampdown across New Forest

Wild camping clampdown across New Forest

Published by Mike Draper with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Maria Zaccaro at 6:01am 27th July 2020.

3 minute read

Increased patrols and stop and check operations are among the co-ordinated measures being taken to stop wild camping and anti-social behaviour across the New Forest.

All agencies that take care of the Forest - including the District Council, Police, Forestry England and the National Park Authority - have got together to tackle the issues after more people were found illegally camping.


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In a statement Forestry England said: 

"We have moved on a number of wild campers and extinguished their campfires, which if left unattended could have devastating effects. 

We expect camping will be ever more popular this summer and we urge people to plan ahead and stay in suitable campsites with appropriate facilities, and respect our treasured New Forest. 

Wild camping is illegal here in the New Forest and can cause considerable damage to wildlife and the landscape."

It's feared more people may decide to try wild camping because Camping in the Forest (CITF), which runs ten sites across the area, has decided not to reopen due to coronavirus.

But civic chiefs are said to be working to ensure that visits to the Forest are still possible.

Cllr Barry Rickman, leader of New Forest District Council said: 

"Although it is disappointing that CITF have taken the decision not to reopen, we are working with our partners to ensure that visits to the area are still possible. We are working to ensure that the actions of a few do not spoil that."

Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, described the new incidents of wild camping as "avoidable vandalism", saying:

"This is what we expected when Camping in the Forest took the unwelcome decision not to reopen the campsites when the government said they could do so."

In a statement Camping in the Forest said: 

"It has been an extremely difficult decision to make. We fully understand the disappointment this will cause. Safety and wellbeing will always be our primary concern and from an operational position, Camping in the Forest sites pose unique challenges in the current circumstances, which has meant we would be unable to meet our high hygiene standards and adhere to government guidance on social distancing and gatherings, together with new measures for the running of campsites."

Visitors are still being encouraged to the area though, but with a reminder that  wild camping is not allowed anywhere in the New Forest - nor are overnight stays in the car parks.

BBQs and wildfires are also banned throughout the National Park.

Visitors are being asked to follow the New Forest Code while they're in the area:

New Forest Code July 2020
Some advice for a safe visit to the New Forest
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