SHOCKING dashcam footage taken by a motorist has shown how a reckless 4x4 driver appeared to come within inches of hitting an innocent baby donkey in the New Forest.

The dashcam driver - who comes from North Dorset and was travelling through Godshill near Fordingbridge to the New Forest Show with his partner - said: “We saw the donkeys stationary in the road ahead and slowed up to about 5kph so we could pass them safely on the left.

“I started creeping past when we realised a 4 x 4 car was overtaking. Its wheels were on the grass and it missed the foal by inches, I’d say.”

He and his partner watched in horror as another donkey was walking towards them on their side of the road.

“If it had taken fright the baby donkey could have walked into us and been injured,” he said.

He believes the 4 x4 driver may even have overtaken an ambulance that was travelling behind his vehicle. “The other driver clearly didn’t have any thought for anyone other than themselves,” he said.

Animal deaths on the New Forest’s roads are often caused by drivers going too fast in proximity to the area’s roaming livestock, including the famous New Forest ponies.

In a statement the Verderers, who oversee and work to maintain commoning practice and traditions across the New Forest, said: “We are always trying to raise awareness about this sort of thing but unfortunately some people are still inconsiderate.

“At this time of year there is a lot of youngstock and we urge people to give them the space they need. If people could see the distress caused by accidents they would make sure they slowed down when approaching animals.”

Verderers have held a number of campaigns to cut animal deaths in the national park. Last year 63 creatures were killed on the Forest’s roads - up 13 per cent on 2017.

In the week beginning July 22, the most recent for which figures are available, Verderers recorded an injured Angus heifer which had to be destroyed and two reports of collisions with a foal and donkey.

Statistics from the past five years show that drivers are most at risk of hitting an animal between sunset and 11pm on four main Forest routes: the B3078/79 from Cadnam to Godshill, the B3054 from Lymington to Dibden Purlieu via Beaulieu, the C10 from Picket Post to Holmsley and the B3055 from Brockenhurst to Sway.