Whether you’re ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) or roughing it with the most basic of facilities, the New Forest National Park Authority (www.newforestnpa.gov.uk) has some top tips to make your camping stay kinder to the environment. The New Forest National Park welcomes 13 million visitors each year and is home to over 20 campsites totalling more than 5,000 pitches. Saira Sheldrake, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Recreation Officer, said,‘Wild camping was banned in the early 1970s to protect the New Forest’s special landscape. However, the wide range of campsites we have here mean there is still the chance to camp in a wild and ancient landscape, bringing people closer to nature and the New Forest. The key challenge is to make sure that camping doesn’t have an adverse impact on this special area and that it doesn’t destroy the unique character of the New Forest – the very thing that visitors come to see and enjoy."
[caption id="attachment_1585" align="alignright" width="300" caption="New Forest pony foal in heather"][/caption]
Green Camping Tips
1. Packing Green- less stuff means more fun! Avoid bringing any unnecessary things that could end up as waste. Buy reusable products - avoid things that you use and throw away.
2. Buying Green - help support the local economy and reduce airmiles by looking out for New Forest Marque products – the sign of good quality New Forest food and merchandise.
3. Cycling Green - come ‘on yer bike’ or hire one at the many cycle hire centres around the New Forest. There are a wealth of cycle trails to enjoy: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/cycling/cycling-route-finder/cycling-in-the-newforest.htm.
4. Travelling Green - leave the car at home and use public transport to get to the campsite. With four stations in the National Park and the Waterloo-Weymouth mainline stopping in the heart of the Forest at Brockenhurst, there’s no excuse not to take a train trip and book a pre-pitched tent. For info on rail and bus connections visit: www.thenewforest.co.uk/green_forest/gettinghere. Try trip-sharing. Consider organising a lift-share by car from any part of the country via one of the many car sharing websites. If you have to drive to your campsite, leave your car at the site and try the New Forest tour bus which includes discounts at attractions - www.thenewforesttour.info.
5. Power Green - use a wind-up torch or a wind-up LED lantern; use rechargeable batteries; consider bringing a portable solar charger for phones, mp3 players and cameras; recycle your batteries.
6. Clean Green - separate waste at your campsite into the correct bins if a waste facility is available or head for the nearest recycling bank. Leave no trace - leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.
Main photo - Visitors walking on the salt marshes at Hurst Point in the New Forest National Park Credit: Martin O'Neil / NFNPA