I mentioned in my introduction to this website that the iconic New Forest Ponies, a major feature of the New Forest National Park, would feature heavily in its pages.
Although they appear in various other featured areas of my website, I felt they just had to have their own section.
To have all the photos together in this manner makes it easier to view them. You get a better perspective of the ponies in their Forest settings as they wander around the various villages throughout the New Forest.
The ponies roam around the New Forest freely, so the location title above each photo is just where they happened to be at the time I took the particular photo/s.
Barrow Moor, Bolderwood Ornamental Drive
I took advantage of being stationary on my journey through the village for this encounter wth the ponies. My easily accessible Canon compact on my belt enabled a quick response to capture this very common scene (taken through the car windscreen).
This was an opportune moment whilst heading west out of Brockenhurst on the Burley Road. Two very loving ponies decided to stop in the middle of the road for a cuddle. As I was the only car on the road at this time I stopped, and Kathy got the shot on her phone camera - hence the reflections in the windscreen. (See photo 2 for a close-up).
As traffic approached from behind us we set off driving again and Kathy took another phone shot.
As you can see, they are not at all frightened or concerned about cars so they won't move out of your way as you approach them.
The reflective collar is to make them more visible during the hours of darkness. You will see them roaming about during the night, grazing as they go. So with the lack of street-lighting on the country roads, extra care and vigilance is required.
Eyeworth Pond, Fritham
Godshill, B3078 Roger Penny Way
Animal Accidents in the New Forest
I have included this section to hopefully help raise driver awareness to a serious problem. New Forest ponies are being killed and seriously injured on the Forest roads by speeding and reckless motorists.
This is occurring all too often, so to help combat this Police speed enforcement officers are positioned along the roads most prone to animal accidents, with infra-red cameras that can photograph vehicles in the dark, in an attempt to reduce these tragedies.
The campaign, started in February 2014, is proving to be successful but speeding, thoughtless and reckless motorists continue to be a big problem.
The latest animal accident statistics, along with a map of the areas worst affected (right), has recently been published (May 2015). The red dots on the map show the locations of animal accidents in the New Forest (click map for larger version).
Out of the 138 accidents in 2014, more than a third took place on three particular roads in the National Park:
• B3078 from Cadnam to Godshill - 24 accidents
• B3054 from Hatchet Pond to Portmore - 16 accidents
• B3056 from Hatchet Pond to Lyndhurst - 13 accidents
The map also shows a cluster of accidents from Picket Post to Burley Street and by Bolton's Bench in Lyndhurst.
Out of 9,319 roaming animals in 2014, 68 were killed and 23 were injured. The rest of the 138 escaped uninjured.
Ponies, donkeys and cattle have been allowed to roam freely around the New Forest for centuries. It's nothing new that has been introduced that drivers are unaware of, so there are no excuses. And it has to be said that it is not just visiting drivers to the area that are the only offenders, local drivers are also responsible for causing some of these accidents. More shame on them for they should know better.
A maximum speed limit of 40 mph is in place to help cut down accidents, but I personally think this is still too fast. And some drivers ignore the speed limits anyway, so this only works for responsible drivers.
The ponies are not afraid of vehicles and do not appreciate the dangers they impose. It is up to all of us to be their protectors and to ensure their safety, so they may continue providing us with enjoyment for many more centuries.
So, visiting or local drivers please keep your speeds down and your awareness sharp - day and night.