ONE of Hampshire's biggest animal events has been postponed until the autumn as coronavirus continues to tighten its grip on the county.

The two-day Dogstival show was due to be held at Pylewell Park, near Lymington, in May but is now scheduled to take place at Burley Park, Burley, in September.

Co-founder Richard Nowell said: “It's obvious that trying to put on a live event in under eight weeks' time would not be a responsible decision under the current circumstances.

"People are naturally concerned and should be staying at home wherever possible, avoiding unnecessary contact with others in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We have been in ongoing contact with various event stakeholders and are delighted to have received their overwhelming support for September 5 and 6.

"While there are still a number of areas to be finalised, Dogstival is set to be a great day out for dogs and dog-lovers.

"It's disappointing to be leaving Pylewell Park but the estate has a busy schedule of weddings across late summer and autumn so a new date for Dogstival was just not feasible.

"Our new venue in Burley is in the very heart of the New Forest and the space works brilliantly.

"We'd like to extend a huge thanks to Anthony Climpson at Go New Forest for his work and support with the change of venue. His wealth of contacts and desire to find solutions has been invaluable."

Mr Nowell said Dogstival organisers were working hard to ensure that dog-lovers would experience a raft of entertainment.

He added: "While there will be changes to the line-up, which will be announced over the coming days, the festival will still host a wealth of have-a-go activities, advice and tips from experts."

Mr Nowell said the event would also feature live music, more than 150 retailers and a raft of food and drink supplied by New Forest producers.

He added: "Unfortunately the change of venue means our pop-up ‘festival’ campsite will not be possible – something we are working to find a solution for.

"Dogstival is also delighted to have retained the support from its sponsors, commercial partners and stallholders and would like to thank each of them in-turn, especially during difficult economic times."

Anyone who has bought tickets for May will be able to use them in September instead. If they are unable to attend their tickets will be valid for the 2021 Dogstival.

"If their preference is for a full refund this will of course be honoured but we hope people will try to find a way of supporting the event," said Mr Nowell.