POLICE say no action will be taken against the driver involved in an accident in which four New Forest ponies were killed, writes Chris Yandell.

A Land Rover Discovery was being driven along Roger Penny Way when it hit the ponies, which are believed to have been licking freshly-laid salt on the road.

Three of the animals were killed instantly and the fourth died from its injuries a few minutes later.

The driver was travelling at less than 40mph - the speed limit on all unfenced roads in the Forest. Reports say the accident happened after he was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

South West Farmer:

The Land Rover Discovery involved in the accident at Roger Penny Way, near Brook. Picture: Hampshire Police

It happened near the entrance to Roundhill car park shortly after 9pm on New Year's Eve.

A police spokesman said: "A black Land Rover Discovery collided with four horses on the B0379 near Brook.

"Sadly, as a result of the collision, the horses died as a result of their injuries.

"The driver of the vehicle was spoken to at the scene, and having carried out a thorough investigation, no further action was taken against him."

Rural policing inspector Korine Bishop added: “This was a tragic incident which resulted in the death of four New Forest horses.

“This is a timely reminder to the residents of, and those driving through, the New Forest to be aware of your surroundings.

"There is a maximum speed limit of 40mph across the area, and motorists are advised to adapt their speed to the driving conditions.”