About the New Forest
The Crown lands of the New Forest are divided between timber-growing inclosures and open forest comprising heath, lawn and ancient woodland.
The Forestry Commission is responsible for the management of the Crown lands, balancing opportunities for wildlife and conservation, timber production and public recreation. Forest Keepers are responsible for the wildlife of the Forest: if a commoning animal (pony, cow, donkey, sheep or pig) is in distress, please contact the local Agister by telephone on 0300 067 4600.
To find out more about the work of the Forestry Commission in the New Forest, please visit their website: www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest
The Verderers of the New Forest
The open forest is historically the domain of the New Forest Commoners with ancient 'Forest Rights' which are enshrined in Forest Law and are administered and enforced by the Verderers' Court. The Verderers of the New Forest have statutory and judicial responsibility for the management of commoning, animal welfare and for the conservation of the open forest including grazing regulation. The Court meets at 10am on the third Wednesday of each month (except in August and December) at the Verderers' Court adjacent to Queen's House in Lyndhurst. Members of the public can attend.
Further information on the Verderers of the New Forest can be found on their website: www.verderers.org.uk
New Forest Commoners' Defence Association
The Commoners' Defence Association promotes, safeguards and represents the interests of the New Forest Commoners, particularly with regard to welfare of ponies, cattle and other stock.
Information on the work of the CDA can be found on their website: www.nfcda.com
Animals have right of way on the highway and similarly, since property is enclosed rather than pasture, owners are responsible for fencing animals out of their property. Encroachment onto and damage of pasture is taken very seriously and dogs must be kept under control at all times.
Information for New Residents
The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) has produced a "Welcome Home" leaflet for new residents of the New Forest which you can download here.