As an environmental historian, I have always been interested in the human interaction with the natural world. When I discovered that I had ‘Rights of Common’ attached to my New Forest smallholding I knew that becoming a ‘commoner’ would give me a rare opportunity to learn about an ancient pastoral system.
I quickly realised that commoning on the New Forest is as deeply rooted in the history, culture and social traditions of this amazing landscape, as it is in its ecology and environment. My rights entitle me to ‘depasture’ ponies, cattle and donkeys on the Open Forest and claim the title of ‘commoner’. I currently have a few mares turned out, and by observing them through the seasons I am also learning about the social relationships in free-roaming semi-feral equines.
I have embraced my responsibilities as a commoner and now take my turn in keeping the culture and traditions of the New Forest alive. I also share information about the history of the New Forest and the practice of commoning in these pages and via Twitter @Forest_Commoner.
If you would like to share your New Forest stories, images or items of interest please contact me via info@ newforestcommoner.co.uk.
New Forest Commoner