Category Archives: New Forest Commoner

New Forest: modern tools and ancient practices

Commoning is an agrarian system that has been practiced on the New Forest since before the Norman Conquest in 1066 and is one of the most ancient forms of agriculture known to man. The basic principles, of farming by using … Continue reading

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New Forest: fence month

William the Conqueror, who is credited with establishing the New Forest in the 11th century, was a keen huntsman and created laws of venison and vert to protect his quarry and its habitat. The forest laws that he introduced were … Continue reading

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New Forest: springtime – natures awakes

I am so pleased to see the return of spring. The lighter mornings mean that I can now check on my stock before I go to work. Many commoners keep their ponies on their holdings during the bleaker months and … Continue reading

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New Forest: searching for ponies and finding litter

One of the great benefits of being a commoner is getting to explore the heathland and woods in search of my ponies. No matter what time of year the New Forest is a place of breath taking scenic beauty. The … Continue reading

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New Forest: The cow and the cattlegrid

I was in the pub one evening last week (December 2014) and offered a lift home to a long established commoning friend of mine. We drove across the Forest chatting away until, within a couple of hundred yards of their … Continue reading

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New Forest: Beaulieu Road Sales

Last week (November 2014) the final pony sales of the year were held at the purpose built sales ring in Beaulieu Road. Not only is this a chance to see native ponies being auctioned but a real opportunity to witness … Continue reading

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New Forest: Lane Creepers

Before the New Forest was fenced and gridded the free-roaming stock ranged widely outside the official boundary. Commoner’s ponies were known to reach as far as the eastern suburbs of Southampton, down into Christchurch in the southwest, and almost into … Continue reading

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The New Forest and The Great War.

Watching the Remembrance Day service was particularly poignant this year. World War One, which lasted from 28 July 1914 until 11 November 1918, began a hundred years ago. When seeing the expressions on the faces of the men and women … Continue reading

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New Forest: home to the commoners

The practice of commoning on the New Forest fills me with fascination. Learning about its history is totally absorbing and as I discover more about the events, community, and characters that have maintained the commoning system the more I want … Continue reading

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The New Forest: the future of commoning

The New Forest is an ancient landscape that has survived into modern times. It is a place of exquisite natural beauty, which is internationally recognised for its importance to wildlife. Because of its distinctive geography it has never been cultivated … Continue reading

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