MORE than 400 people responded in the first week of the national park authority's call for comments about shaking up its New Forest recreation plan.

The changes could be the most far-reaching since the 1970s when much of the local facilities were installed, including public car parks, camp sites and tracks. The area now receives more than 13 million visits a year and numbers are expected to rise.

Hundreds have answered an online survey by the NPA, which is leading a group reviewing how to handle increasing tourist pressure including the Forestry Commission, verderers, district and county councils, and Natural England.

NPA chair Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: "We're hoping as many people as possible who understand and love the New Forest will spend a few minutes giving us their opinions, and 400 responses in the first week is a great start.

"We're keen to hear from a wide range of local people and visitors, including people who don't normally get involved in public consultations.

"The drop-in sessions at leisure centres, village halls and the New Forest Show are the ideal opportunity to talk with staff from relevant organisations to help confirm your own view about how we can both enable appropriate recreation and protect the Forest for the Future.

"The rangers are also out and about encouraging people to fill in the online survey."

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The new plan includes areas bordering the national park and may involve closing or relocating facilities, as well as new investment. It was last updated in 2010 and will also review pastimes such as horse riding, on and off-road cycling, golf, cricket, camping and walking.

The open access status of the national park will not change but there are likely to be measures to channel activity away from sensitive areas and cope with reduced public funding.

The deadline for responses is August 13 after which a draft plan will be produced in late 2017 or early 2018 for further consultation.

Drop-in sessions will be at held at Lyndhurst Community Centre on Tuesday (JUL 4) from 2-8pm; Lymington Health and Leisure Centre on Monday, July 10, from 2-8pm; Fordingbridge Information Office on Wednesday, July 12, 10am-4pm and at the NPA's New Forest Show stand at New Park, Brockenhurst from July 25-27.