THE New Forest National Park Authority is looking for New Forest ambassadors to help protect the area.

It says since COVID-19 travel restrictions were eased the New Forest has received unprecedented numbers of people returning to enjoy time outside. Most people, the authority says, cause no issues however there has been a rise in antisocial behaviours including fire risks, irresponsible parking and littering.

Now the New Forest NPA has created a list of ways people can help across the whole of the national park, including their local villages and community areas, alongside the increased patrols and activities already being carried out by rangers and staff from the National Park Authority, Forestry England and the emergency services.

Nigel Matthews, the head of recreation management and learning at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: "Many people are rightly reaping the health and wellbeing benefits of time spent on the coast and in the countryside, including in the New Forest National Park. A coordinated effort is in place by all Forest organisations, local authorities and the emergency services to address resulting issues. We also know that many local people have been supporting this work by picking up litter and reporting issues, and we’d like to thank them for protecting the National Park.

"We recently held an online ‘summit’ of parish councils who asked how they could get involved further and we’ve been contacted by individuals, families and commoners who also offered more practical help. We hope the information and resources we are providing will help create a new and growing team of New Forest Ambassadors, which we can expand in the coming weeks and months.

"Alongside welcoming people back to the National Park, we want to help them understand and respect it, while encouraging everyone to stay safe."

Ways to help include litter picking – 500 free kits, each including a picking guide, bags, a hi-vis jacket and a litter picker, are available in various outlets. Report a problem, help record verge and gateway parking, and welcome responsible Forest users – downloadable and printed resources including the ‘New Forest Code’ are available on the NPA website so that parish councils, local businesses, visitor attractions and accommodation providers can share relevant messages.

Richard Taylor, New Forest National Park Authority member, added: "As the country emerges from lockdown, many people are visiting the New Forest to enjoy its natural beauty and tranquillity. The New Forest Ambassador scheme provides an excellent way for local people to get involved, and help these people understand and benefit from the special qualities of this place – and yet not cause inadvertent harm."

For more information about the scheme, visit

This story first appeared in the Salisbury Journal.

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