and Mouth Disease and the New Forest
far, no cases of Foot and Mouth Disease have been reported in the
New Forest area. The
Forest is now completely open again!
Foot and Mouth disease was first discovered in the UK, immediate
precautions were taken nationwide to prevent the spread of the
disease, including removal of cattle from the Forest.
Forestry Commission stopped all public movement, including no access
to all lay-bys and car parks. It was forbidden for pedestrians and
cyclists to enter Forestry land.
mats were laid across roads entering the Forest.
2001 brought the relaxation of the restrictions, mainly due to
pressures from the Tourist industry. Limited areas of the Forest were
opened, around the Bolderwood, Rhinefield and Wilverley Plain areas.
This policy was initially strongly opposed by the Commoners, who
would perhaps had a better case if they had removed all their ponies
from the Forest. Early May and the commoners' cattle were
re-introduced to the Forest, as the numbers of new cases of the
disease reduced throughout the country. From 11th May, the Forest
re-opened to the public, although some car parks were still closed.
The disinfectant mats were all removed
from 1st June. From 15th June, all car parks re-opened and things
are now back to normal, although dogs must still be walked on leads
on Forest land. On 20th July this restriction was lifted, although
there is talk of a new law being introduced (the CROW Act) to enforce
dogs on leads between March and July each year and in the vicinity of
livestock. Protest groups are already making themselves heard.
the past few months there was still considerable activity by the
Forestry Commission, who cut down many trees and churned up the
forest tracks. One wonders how they can possibly justify any
criticism of the public causing damage with their dogs and bicycles!