I'm putting this up so that you can share anything about the New Forest. Here's one example about whether you MUST or are ADVISED to stay to the recognised cycle paths.
After following a nice piece of single track in between Fritham and Frogham, I started to catch up 4 horse riders out for a hack. As they were line abreast there was no way to pass so I decided to stop for a breather and create some distance between us. They had no idea I was there. Just then I spotted a guy 10m away. The following conversation happened;
Me; Hello, cracking day?
Guy; Yes. You do know you should be on a cycle path?
M; I'm aware of the cycle paths but my ordnance survey map says they are advisory.
G; Yes but people who actually CARE about the forest will stick to them......
At this point I was about to rip his head off for being rude and arrogant when;
G; .....But I don't have a problem with cyclists in the forest. I think they are great for the economy of it and its great fun. Its just that during April and May there is ground nesting birds in this area.
M; What about the line abreast riders up ahead who are not single file on the trail?
G; Horses are natural.
I then tutted, shook my head and cycled off on the track. I went straight to the nearest cycle path and stuck to it. Not because of him, but genuinely because of the birds.