Our vision of the New Forest is a unique naturally beautiful yet living and changing place in which strong elements of tranquillity and wilderness are maintained despite the increasing pressures from the demands of local population, recreation and infrastructure. It is a vision of countryside and coast free from pollution, with a minimum of intrusion; an ancient unenclosed landscape set in a wider matrix of diverse, unspoiled countryside including historic settlements and character villages, with long-term ecological and cultural ties to the Forest.
Our vision of the Forest requires a viable commoning community as a vital part of our cultural heritage and an essential element to maintain the ecological habitat of the Forest. A strong rural community must be sustained by commoning, forest management and appropriate local trades and industry.
We visualise the unenclosed landscape as a functioning biological system whose component heathlands, bogs, woods and other habitats are protected against abrupt change, while responding slowly to the grazing of commoners’ animals and deer which shape their distinctive character. It is a landscape maintained by sensitive land management, restrained from overuse and where damage in the past is reversed by remedial action.
It is a vision in which there are opportunities for public enjoyment of the Forest, but this is not the dominant management consideration. Education of the public to understand the unique quality and fragility of the Forest is important. Our vision expects all who are privileged to live or work in this special place to share some responsibility for its guardianship, accepting the benefits and limitations this requires.