TWELVE vehicles were stopped in the New Forest as part of a crackdown on cars hitting animals. 

Police officers said the cars were going more than the 40mph speed limit in Matley Wood, between Lyndhurst and Beaulieu. 

As part of the stop on March 12, the officers showed the drivers pictures of cars which had previously hit animals in the forest. 

The aim, they said, is to show why extra care is needed on the New Forest’s roads. 

A spokesman for New Forest police said: “As you can see, the risk isn’t just to the animals but to drivers too. 

“Please slow down and be extra vigilant, especially when in the forest, and as always thanks again to the majority of drivers who went passed us this morning well under the 40mph limit.” 

The winter months have historically been the worst for livestock and wildlife deaths, according to Hampshire police. 

Campaigns have previously been run to remind drivers on forest roads to take extra care and remember to pass wide and slow when encountering ponies and other animals. 

New Forest National Park Authority said 37 ponies, cattle, sheep and pigs were killed or injured in road accidents in 2023, compared to 39 the previous year.

Gilly Jones from the group New Forest Road Awareness said: "Animals roaming across the New Forest have right of way and can be extremely unpredictable.

"Drivers need to be able to react quickly and if the worst does happen it’s essential that they know what to do.

"If you are involved in an accident with a forest animal, please call 999 immediately even if it runs off as it may have an internal injury."

Gavin Parker, chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, added: "The New Forest ponies are known as the 'architects of the forest' – their grazing helps make the forest internationally important for wildlife.

"Although the overall trend of accidents has been gradually reducing over the years, any death or injury to an animal is a great loss to its owner and the New Forest."