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Cycling in the New Forest
(Average user rating: 3 unrated 2.1/5)

Family using cycle network map in the New ForestExploring this truly ancient forest by bicycle is the ideal way to discover the magnificent beauty and fascinating wildlife that can easily be missed by car.

To help protect this unique environment and improve visitor enjoyment an off-road and road-based cycle network has been created.

The network covers over 100 miles and links the main New Forest villages and the railway at Brockenhurst, by the safest and most attractive routes.

New Forest cycling code

The New Forest is a beautiful, tranquil and environmentally sensitive place enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike. Mutual respect and courtesy are essential to enable those with different interests to enjoy the Forest together.

The New Forest is a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks. Ponies, cattle and other animals are free to roam the Forest and most of its roads. Be aware that animals are easily startled and may suddenly move into your path.

Off road cycling in the New Forest is permitted only on certain routes.

Please follow both the Highway Code and this New Forest Cycling Code which is supported by cycling groups and local organisations.

If you are cycling in an organised event, follow the additional instructions to minimise your impact.

Be considerate

  • 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 waymarked network of Forestry Commission tracks, bridleways, byways, restricted byways and designated routes.
  • Use this map 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.

Be safe

  • 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.

Before setting out please view our Cycle Route Closure page to make sure your chosen route is open.

The New Forest Inclusive Cycling Project

New Forest Inclusive Cycling aims to engage any person in cycling regardless of their physical or intellectual ability, age or confidence level. The project makes use of a wide array of adapted cycles including tricycles, recumbent cycles, wheelchair cycles, hand cycles and tandems as well as two-wheeled bicycles. To find out more about the National Parks inclusive cycling project, please visit the New Forest National Park Authority website.

What do other visitors say?

2 Stars 2 Stars

The maps is a fantastic idea which allows families and less experienced riders the chance to explore some of the best country in the south. However the more experience thrill seekers don't seem to be catered for. The Burley areas in particular are thriving with already cut tracks by the forest ponies and cattle. If some marked and mapped they would create a fantastic opportunity not only to give riders what they are looking for, but also a chance for the authorities to drastic reduce the amount of riders damaging other areas of the forest. Other national parks have done this with booming success.

forset resident, 3/Nov/2017
3 Stars 3 Stars

Just a bit of a shame that most of the cycle routes have to be on a gravel track. It gets a bit tireing after cycling on the same bumpy surface for a long time. There needs to be more interesting routes like through a wooded area or on a grassy path.

Other than that, the whole map system with the numbers worked fine for us today!

Tom, 16/Aug/2017
2 Stars 2 Stars

Thought QR code on a numbered post.. (94) would lead to something location specific, not a general cycling in the forest page.

Anonymous, 1/Aug/2017
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Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at enquiries.southern@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Last updated: 18th November 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.