DRIVERS in the New Forest are being asked to add just three minutes onto their journey time when travelling the area's most dangerous routes - to help cut animal road deaths.

The Forest's Animal Accidents Reduction Group are launching their new campaign, 'Add3Minutes', on Thursday in preparation for the end of British summertime on October 27.

A spokesman for the group said: "The accidents drastically increase when the clocks change, with November being the worst month of the year closely followed by December.

"Weekdays are worse than weekends and Thursday and Friday are worst days of the week with the peak time of day being the evening, when people are driving in darkness: 5pm-6pm and up to 10pm in winter with an additional peak between 7am-8am in winter."

The campaign is being launched at the Fighting Cocks pub in Roger Penny Way at Godshill near Fordingbridge. This venue has been chosen because Roger Penny Way is one of the Forest's animal accident blackspots.

Last year, said the AARG, 63 animals were killed on Forest roads. Most of the accidents are caused by local people on regular trips, with four main roads seeing the most accidents:

• Lymington — Beaulieu — Dibden Purlieu

• Brockenhurst — Sway

• Burley — Picket Post

• Cadnam — Godshill.

Groups including the Commoners Defence Association, The Verderers, Forestry England, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Constabulary, New Forest National Park Authority and the British Deer Society ll believe that if drivers slowed down - adding just three minutes - many animal lives could be saved.

The Forest has seen a spate of particularly tragic animals deaths during 2019, with six animals killed in road accidents in a space of one week during July.

A baby donkey had to be humanely destroyed after an accident on the B3078 at Crows Nest. Later that day a foal was injured in a hit-and-run near the Rising Sun pub at Wootton near New Milton.

Exactly 24 hours later a baby donkey was injured on the B3078 at Longcross and had to be put down and a few hours after that a cow was injured in an accident at Bramshaw Telegraph.

Two further animals died after collisions during that week.