Animals you can expect to find when staying in a New Forest Cottage

Our handy guide will help you spot and identify animals when staying in a New Forest Cottage. Remember to pack a good supply of water and snacks, or even a picnic to enjoy whilst you explore.  The Viewranger app is a great addition to find your way around.  Take a camera and snap some shots for your Facebook and Instagram pages too. An ordnance survey map is generally provided in your New Forest Cottage for you to use.

New Forest Ponies

There are around 5,000 New Forest ponies that are owned by commoners who have lived in the New Forest for generations. If you are staying near on in the Forest, then the New Forest Pony is the most likely animal that you will encounter.  Although they are used to people, they are not tame.  Please do not feed them as they are not able to digest a human diet and the food we eat can actually make them very ill.  Did you know that horses can die from stomach ache?  They are unable to be sick. Therefore, if they eat something bad for them the intestines become entangled, causing colic and death.   Their natural food is grass and the heathlands of the New Forest are ideal.



There a lot of donkeys of varying shapes and sizes near our holiday cottages. Donkeys particularly like hedgerows so can be regularly seen in the villages and towns. They tend to be more docile than the New Forest pony but beware, many lunches have been stolen by them and they are partial to an ice cream so best to stay and admire them from a distance.

Spot New Forest Ponies when exploring from your New Forest Cottage
Donkeys roam the villages and towns of the New Forest
An adder in the New Forest during a walk

Snakes, lizards and frogs

Adder or Grass snake, spot the difference!

Adder – only venomous snake in the UK and luckily very shy.  They will generally move away and avoid contact with people but can be seen basking in the sun. This image is taken in the New Forest when out walking last summer.

Grass – more common than the Adder, they have a distinctive yellow band around the back of their head.

Lizards – can frequently be seen particularly in sunny spots.  They can be extremely small and hard to spot due to their fantastic camouflage.


Around 3000 cattle can be seen throughout the year grazing in the New Forest.  There are various breeds from Friesian to Highland.


These are only released onto the forest during the Autumn.  They help to eat the acorns and nuts that would otherwise poison the New Forest ponies.


There are five different breeds of deer that can be spotted around the New Forest… see how many you can spot during your stay.

  • Red
  • Roe
  • Fallow
  • Sika
  • Muntjac

There are also the more common squirrels, rabbits and badgers as well as some beautiful birds.  They all add to the abundance of wildlife that can be spotted when you are out walking, cycling or running in the New Forest.

Cattle grazing and relaxing in the New Forest
Deer gathered in the Forest and spotted during a dog walk

Looking for a New Forest Cottage?

Looking for New Forest Cottage accommodation to in stay for a family break?  Choose from a selection of traditional thatched cottages or larger family homes ideal for larger groups.  Browse the holiday cottages below…