|Here we welcome guest posts on night cycling and signs to educate the public. These presentments were made by individuals to the Verderers, not on behalf of the Friends of the New Forest, and which they have kindly given us permission to share here. The first is from Alison Tilbury, Vice chairman of Denny Lodge Parish Council, who spoke as a representative of the Parish.|
We wish to ask whether the Verderers can initiate some control over the increasing numbers of nightime cyclists that are riding over the open forest in groups. Most of these cyclists wear a very bright headlight which although may be effective for their riding causes disturbance to forest stock.
With the clocks going back in October we feel that now is the time that education is put in place to put a stop to this nightime activity. This would ensure that the forest has a time to rest and recover from the increasing pressures of all the daytime activities that take place.
|Last November we made a presentment stating our concerns and objections to a medium sized night time cycling recreation event which was sponsored by a head lamp manufacturer. We were concerned about the effect on wildlife and livestock, and want the Forest to have, as Alison Tilbury has said, “a time to rest and recover.”
Our second guest post today is from local resident Susan Johnson, speaking on the subject of Visitors and Ponies and Signs
I am fully aware of the reluctance to put more signs on the Forest and the reasons given. However, this year has convinced me, more than ever, that there is an urgent need for new signs at entrances to the Forest stating:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED, TOUCH OR COAX PONIES TO THE ROADSIDE
The information notices in the car parks and leaflets at various venues are not sufficiently effective. Many people do not bother to read them. They are not seen by the large number of visitors passing through, who stop on the verges and in lay-bys to look at the ponies and encourage them over to their cars to photograph, touch and feed them. I frequently encounter this behaviour as I drive across the Forest – in particular on the B3055 Sway to Brockenhurst road on which I drive twice a day, every day. It is getting worse every year as visitor numbers increase. This year has been particularly bad.
On advising them, politely, that what they are doing is not a good idea and why, I receive mixed responses but invariably I am told that “they did not know that it was wrong” and asked “where are the signs to tell them this”? With – appropriate, instructional signs at Forest entrances they would have no excuse for their ignorance and could not justifiably claim that they “did not know” .
It may be mainly locals who kill the ponies but it is certainly, without doubt, visitors who entice them to the roads.
In conclusion, in my opinion such signs are vital and there is no valid reason for refusal to erect them. Without them livestock is being put at increased risk I which I find inexcusable! Please, let common sense prevail.
I really to not have the time or inclination to have to keep stopping and talking to these people.
|We should note that these views do not necessarily reflect the positions taken by the Friends of the New Forest. We share them here to stimulate debate, and to acknowledge the passion, care and time taken by the presenters, and thank them for their efforts.
Our policies against too much urbanizing of the Forest, often puts us in the position of arguing against too many signs, but certainly the nuances of content, effectiveness, and situation are part of that as an ongoing discussion. We are not against effective efforts to educate the public about how to care for and respect the Forest.