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The New Forest has a proud history of commoning, where commoners release animals onto the Open Forest.

Commoning: an ancient tradition

Grazing by commoners’ animals still shapes and maintains the New Forest we all know and enjoy, making it accessible and very special. Although common rights were once widespread in Britain and Europe, they have been lost in many areas due to the enclosure of common land and the demise of former royal forests. The New Forest remains one of the few extensive lowland commons where rights are still widely practised and a strong commoning culture continues. This section tells the story of commoning, from the animals and rights to the commoners themselves and their close-knit community.
Commoning and you

Commoning and you

Community and Heritage

Community and Heritage

The animals

The animals

Shaping your forest

Shaping your forest

National Park Member


'Please don’t feed or pet the animals; they may look friendly but they can bite and kick.'

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