Ponies graze on common land

Common rights of the New Forest

Common rights are attached to properties in and around the New Forest rather than to any individual.  Someone who makes use of the common rights attached to their property is known as a practising commoner.


The right to graze livestock, including ponies, cattle and donkeys and also some sheep (under a separate common right).

Pannage or mast
The right to turn out pigs during the ‘pannage’ season in the autumn to feed.  The pigs provide a useful service by eating acorns that are poisonous to ponies and cattle.

Estovers or fuelwood
The right to cut wood for fuel. To protect the Ancient and Ornamental woodland, commoners who exercise this right are now provided with firewood from timber plantations by the Forestry Commission.

Two rights are no longer exercised:

The right to cut turf for fuel.

The right to dig clay to spread on and improve fields.

  1. Common rights of the New Forest (you are here)
  2. History of commoning
  3. Cattle
  4. Donkey
  5. New Forest pony
  6. Pigs
  7. Sheep
  8. New Forest Commoners Defence Association


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