There are traffic signs warning about ponies on the road or crossing the roads day and night. Take them seriously. The ponies don't care about the cars and we saw many of them very close to the main roads. Drive slowly and pay attention.
There are road signs to remind motorists to keep their speed downs - but its easy to forget that its not only more easily visible ponies on the road but also smaller animals such as the badger which tends to come out at dusk.
One reason that feeding of the wild ponies is asked not to be done is that it attracts the ponies out onto the roads which of course puts them at risk.
Statistics:In 2006 it was recorded that 86 livestock were killed on the roads, an increase of 10% from 2005, many were hit and run incidences.
When you visit the beach at Lepe and get hungry you do well NOT to visit the beach restaurant. The food we got there was probably the worst that I have ever had. We ordered a cheeseburger and got an ice-cold bun sprinkled with half-melted grated cheese and stuffed with a burger that was chewy as leather. I only ate half of it, then I had to gulp with every bite so I stopped. The food that other people ordered looked similarly horrible. Probably the only edible thing they offer is ice-cream (ready-made, NOT home-made).
The free-roaming animals have right of way throughout the forest. They're not very clever when it comes to traffic, so if you're driving in the area please watch out for them wandering along the roads, or even simply standing in the middle of the road.
It's especially hard to see them after dark - they're just dark shapes amongst the dark shadows - so be extra careful then.
That applies to the villages as well as the open country areas, as this queue of ponies across the road in the village of Piley shows. Why they were queueing at the Post Office is a mystery! Only the towns and Lyndhurst have cattle grids to keep the animals out, you'll find them in all the other built-up areas, so be careful even in the main shopping streets!
Although the animals you see in the New Forest may be domesticated farm animals, they roam the area freely and are not necessarily comfortable with humans near to them. So give them some respect, for your own safety.
I found this huge pig at the side of the road and when I got out of the car to take the photo she became quite aggressive. Maybe she had young nearby, but I didn't stay around to find out!
Herds of cattle wander freely over the New Forest, their owners having ancient grazing rights. And there are thousands of ponies plus large numbers of deer and other animals. They have right of way.
They can all wander onto the roads, and often do, so if you're driving please keep well within the 40mph speed limit and always keep a lookout for animals.
Most important - slow right down as you pass them. The young ones, like this little foal testing out his legs by jumping around, can be very skittish and without warning can suddenly jump in front of your car.
At night they can congregate on the roads because the bitumen retains the warmth of the sun. If they're facing away from you so that your lights don't reflect in their eyes you won't see them until it's too late.
Hundreds of the animals are killed every year by vehicles, so please take care.