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Guided wildlife tours

Guided wildlife tours

COVID-19 update: Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions we are only opening bookings for scheduled tours for an initial four-week period from 19 Sept, with group sizes limited to six (one guide and five clients) in line with the latest UK Government requirements. The safety of our clients is our highest priority, and we have completed a full risk assessment as part of our Forestry England permit that takes account of the latest COVID-19 guidelines. Clients will be outdoors at all times during the tour, will have no requirement to touch any potentially contaminated items, and will be able to maintain appropriate social distancing while still benefitting from operating as a group. Face coverings are not required on our tours, but clients are welcome to use them if preferred.  Clients will be fully refunded if tours are unable to operate due to future changes in UK Government COVID-19 guidelines.

Guided tours: We are initially offering our New Forest Discovery tours on a daily basis, rotating around the main hubs of Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Lymington (see map here); all routes provide an excellent introduction to the New Forest and an opportunity to see fantastic scenery and wildlife, while learning about the special qualities of the New Forest and responsible recreation. All hubs have convenient parking and toilet facilities, a wide range of accommodation, cycle hire and café options, and Brockenhurst and Lymington are also accessible by train. Initial customer feedback has been really positive!

"Our walk with Marcus around Lymington Marshes yesterday was great. Lots of interesting snippets of information about the area and clues to identification of species. Of course, the weather was glorious too, and so thoroughly enjoyed. Good luck with these and thank you to Marcus". Karen and David Anderson, 21 Sept 2020.

 

Our Discovery walking tour routes are about 8 km (5 miles) long and our Discovery cycling tour routes are about 20 km (12 miles) long – all routes take about three hours, but we apply a flexible approach depending on weather conditions and what wildlife appears! We walk and cycle at a relaxed pace, but clients will need to have a reasonable level of fitness in order to complete the circuit in the allocated time. Dogs and children are welcome on our walks, subject to the terms and conditions below. Fees for adults are £25 per person, and children aged ten and under are free. Our terms and conditions are available at the bottom of this page.

 

After checking the tour schedule and reading the further information below, click the link to access our online booking pages with further details of each tour, including a brief summary of the route. Once you have selected your chosen tour and dates, you will be directed to the client details and payment pages. Finally, before booking your tour, you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agreed to our terms and conditions, which are listed at the bottom of this page. Joining instructions, including directions to the meeting point for your tour, will be provided by email once your booking is confirmed.

 

Note that we are aiming to offer shorter and fully accessible wildlife tours later in the autumn, which will be suitable for wheelchairs, prams and those with limited mobility. We will also be offering bespoke guided wildlife tours, on foot or by bike, later this year. If you are interested in our accessible or bespoke tours, then please contact us for further details.

Tour schedule

Why choose Wild New Forest?

  • All tours are led by the Wild New Forest Directors, Russell Wynn and Marcus Ward, who have over 50 years experience in wildlife survey, monitoring and photography in the New Forest National Park; click here to find out more

  • All of our New Forest tours are operated under Forestry England permit, and are designed to minimise impacts on protected habitats while maximising opportunities to enjoy great scenery and encounter exciting wildlife

  • We are members of GO New Forest and are experienced tour leaders and public speakers, with full public liability insurance, outdoor first aid training, and recent advanced DBS checks

  • Wild New Forest CIC is a not-for-profit company, so by supporting us you are also supporting frontline wildlife research and conservation work in the New Forest; click here for examples of our research and see our blog here for details of our recent activities

  • We work with Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and other forest organisations to support responsible recreation in the New Forest. We therefore promote and ask our clients to follow the New Forest code below:

What will I need to bring?

  • For both walking and cycling tours you will need appropriate clothing, ideally using a layering system with a light base layer, warm mid-layer, and waterproof shell. For walking tours, we recommend walking boots or sturdy trail shoes. 

  • In bright, sunny conditions at any time of year we recommend using sunscreen, wearing suitable headwear, and reducing glare with sunglasses. In winter, gloves and a hat will help to reduce wind chill.

  • You will need sufficient drinks and snacks for a three-hour tour; there are no facilities on the route, so we recommend bringing at least 0.5L of water and enough food for a couple of snack stops.

  • Binoculars are recommended, but don’t worry if you don’t have any as there will still be plenty of wildlife to see and hear at close range! Keen birders may wish to bring a scope for the Lymington walk.

  • For cycle tours you will need a mountain or gravel bike with suitable tyres for loose gravel trails. Please contact us for recommended bike hire outlets in all four of the New Forest hubs where we operate tours. Helmets are compulsory - spare inner tubes, puncture repair kits and basic bike tools are strongly recommended. Dogs are not permitted on cycle tours. 

Terms and conditions

  1. Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot accept clients who have been diagnosed with or who display symptoms of COVID-19 (or who live with or share a support bubble with someone that does), or who have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service; we also recommend that clients who are shielding do not book tours with us at the present time. Note that we will keep clients contact details for a period of 21 days to comply with UK Government requirements around NHS Test and Trace. 

  2. Clients must disclose any pertinent medical information at the time of booking, to ensure their safety in potentially remote areas of the New Forest where help may be more than 30 minutes away; this includes asthma, diabetes and heart/lung conditions. Clients must also be sufficiently fit to complete the advertised tour within the advertised time.

  3. We will automatically delete all clients’ medical data after 21 days. Clients retain the right to have their contact and other personal details removed from our records after 21 days in line with GDPR requirements - any retained data will be held securely in line with GDPR requirements, and used for internal Wild New Forest purposes only (and solely for the purpose of improving future tour provision).

  4. Clients can cancel bookings up to 48 hours before their tour commences and will be offered the opportunity to rebook or be fully refunded. If clients cancel within 48 hours of their tour commencing, we will offer the opportunity to rebook or will endeavour to sell the available slots in order to offer a full refund, however, clients will not be eligible for a refund if both of these options are not possible.  

  5. We will cancel tours if weather conditions are forecast to be potentially dangerous or unsuitable for viewing wildlife, e.g. high winds, lightning storms, and/or heavy precipitation (rain, sleet, snow, hail). We will not cancel tours in the event of light rain or showers, so waterproofs and suitable headwear are strongly recommended! In the event of cancellations, we will endeavour to contact clients asap using the details provided. 

  6. The New Forest is a working forest, and we monitor the latest Forestry England updates regarding car park and trail closures (e.g. due to pony drifts or tree felling operations) to minimise disruption to our tours. However, we reserve the right to alter tour routes and meeting places at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control and will endeavour to contact clients asap using the details provided.

  7. Dogs are welcome on our tours but must be kept under control and on a lead at all times (with respect for social distancing measures). Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs, so please bring you own poo bags and dispose of them responsibly!

  8. Children are welcome on our tours but must be accompanied by an adult, capable of walking or cycling the advertised distance (or being carried as appropriate) and kept under control at all times (with respect for social distancing measures).

  9. We reserve the right to refuse clients who deliberately breach the New Forest code or any of the conditions listed above

  10. Disclaimer: Wild New Forest maintain an up-to-date risk assessment for all guided walking and cycling tours and apply a consistent, professional and evidence-based approach to client’s health and safety. However, clients agree to participate in Wild New Forest tours at their own risk and are responsible for their own health and safety, including provision of suitable prescriptions for medical conditions. In addition, Wild New Forest does not accept liability for any loss, theft or damage to personal property or effects.

EMAIL

PHONE

07500 990808

(please be patient or leave a message, we're probably in the forest!)

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