New Forest Management Catchment

Operational catchments

There are 5 operational catchments in this management catchment.

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Operational Catchments


Protected Areas


Boundary/GIS data for this area

All Data Summary

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    Catchment Partnerships Pages

    To view the catchment partnership pages switch to the river basin management plan


    The New Forest catchment encompasses approximately 450 square kilometres and lies mostly within the New Forest National Park boundary. The area is largely rural, with several picturesque villages and the larger settlements of Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst. The main urban areas are confined to the waterside communities bordering Southampton Water and along the south west coastal zone. The population of the area swells in the summer with the influx of tourists. The New Forest is a unique landscape, consisting of ancient and ornamental woodland, areas of grassland known locally as lawns and the largest remaining area of heather covered lowland heath in Europe. It is famed for its free ranging New Forest ponies, cattle and pigs, managed traditionally over the centuries by an extensive grazing system and pastoral economy. Its numerous small streams, ponds, lakes, coastal mudflats and salt marshes provide rare habitats for wildlife which support many designated conservation sites. Whilst groundwater generally provides good quality baseflow, the network of rivers and ponds are primarily fed by rainfall, which has helped to create the Forests unique landscape and its diverse range of habitats. While the New Forest is valued for it natural rural landscape, its rivers have been managed and engineered over the years. Several have tidal controls, others are ponded and more have been dredged and straightened for land drainage and agriculture. Nevertheless, each river has its own unique environmental value and the New Forest has some of the most diverse ecology and valuable wetlands in lowland England.

    The source of the Sowley Stream emerging on heathland with New Forest ponies grazing