Category Archives: New Forest Pony Drift

New Forest: ponies and pigs can be friends

Autumn is definitely here. Pannage season is upon us and the annual pony drifts are currently underway*. During the drifts the semi-feral ponies and foals are rounded up for inspection, released back onto the Forest or taken away to be … Continue reading

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New Forest: autumn drifts in!

A sure sign of autumn in the commoner’s calendar is the commencement of the pony drifts that take place each year. The drifts are round-ups that are conducted by the Agisters and commoners, which aim to collect together as many … Continue reading

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New Forest: winter is coming

The warm weather of late (September 2015) has been a welcome accompaniment as I perform the last of the autumn harvesting. Most of the vegetables from the raised beds have been picked and preserved ready for use over the winter. The … Continue reading

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New Forest: autumn is here and the drifts are underway

Autumn has arrived. The heathland, woods and lawns wear a pale blanket of mist in the early mornings and the heathland is mantled in purple heather. The blackberries shine like jewels in the hedgerows and great quantities of sloes decorate … Continue reading

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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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Commoning: cooperation and coordination

The practice of commoning on the New Forest is generally a very sociable enterprise. The support and cooperation of other commoners is essential for maintaining the welfare of the free-roaming stock. When I go out on the Forest I always … Continue reading

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Unusual tails from the New Forest

Attending the annual pony-round ups, known as drifts, is an important part of a New Forest commoner’s calendar. The drifts were ordered to take place each year fifteen days after Michaelmas, by Henry VIII in 1540, and continue more or … Continue reading

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Autumn: the season of tradition and heritage

Autumn is a time when the traditional rural practices and cultural heritage of the New Forest come alive. The annual drifts, or pony round-ups, that were ordered by Henry VIII in 1540, are in full progress and are still conducted … Continue reading

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Drifting on the New Forest

Being a commoner on the New Forest involves continuing a pastoral system that is steeped in history. In the 16th century Henry VIII, who is better known for marrying six wives and establishing the Church of England, created laws that … Continue reading

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Stallions on the New Forest

There has been a lot of excitement on the New Forest recently due to the stallions being released onto the Open Forest. This is an annual event and, this year (2014), ten male ponies have been turned out to run … Continue reading

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