Public open spaces

A public open space is an open piece of land of both green space and hard space, which has been made available for public access.

We maintain a wide range of public open spaces across New Forest. These include woods, grass areas, streams and ponds. They vary in size from a few square metres to several hectares. 

All our public open spaces are maintained for local residents' enjoyment and to provide areas to play, walk and appreciate nature. Many areas have paths to explore, and benches to take a rest or talk to friends and family.

We ask all users to respect each other, and not engage in activity that may be dangerous or disturb others' enjoyment.

Dogs must always be under their owners' control.

Flying recreational drones in our public open space areas is not permitted as it can be dangerous and annoying to other visitors. If you wish to fly a drone for commercial, film or survey purposes within any of our public open spaces, you must contact us to attain permission before your flight. You can email our open spaces team at open.spaces@nfdc.gov.uk.

Report a problem

If you wish to make an enquiry or report any damage within our public open spaces, use the online form below.

You can also make a report by calling customer services on 023 8028 5000.

Our responsibilities

Our aim with maintaining public open spaces is to:

  • sustain biodiversity
  • support the local ecosystem
  • provide green corridors to and from the open forest for our wildlife
  • follow the guidelines and permissions of Natural England.

We have also started to introduce wildflower areas and hibernacula (shelter for a hibernating animal).

New Forest is home to a number of rare or at-risk species. Large areas of our open space are legally defined as Natural Designations, which means they are protected landscapes. Visit the Historic England website to learn more about Natural Designations.

Natural Designations can be located using the central government mapping system at DEFRA

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