The National Park helps fund new Land Rovers for Agisters

Published Monday 24 July 2006

Five new Land Rovers will be on parade at the New Forest Show on Wednesday 26 July, thanks to a jointly funded partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers.

The Land Rovers will make a huge difference to the Agisters who manage the commoning of animals in the New Forest.

The jointly branded vehicles will give the Agisters a clear identity whilst carrying out their duties on the Forest, and when attending the scene of an accident involving a Forest animal.

The Authority has helped part fund this partnership for the next five years, donating a total of £65,000 towards the purchase of five brand new Land Rover Defenders.

The Agisters’ work is essential to the continuation of commoning which has been a unique tradition of the New Forest since the Norman times. Grazing by the Commoners’ animals maintains the landscape and wildlife of the Forest.

It is the Agisters who are responsible for the management and welfare of the thousands of cattle, ponies, donkeys and pigs that the Commoners turn out onto the Forest.

Jonathan Gerrelli, Head Agister, said: ‘The Land Rovers will help us immensely with our work and allow us to do our jobs efficiently, especially when attending to injured animals.  Up until now, we have provided our own vehicles which has been a heavy financial burden’

Official Verderer, Oliver Crothwaite Eyre added: ‘We are delighted that the National Park Authority has provided the financial help to assist us with the purchase of these vehicles.  It bodes well for the future.'

‘The Agisters play an essential part in managing the welfare of animals and ensure we can help keep the tradition of Commoning alive. The provision of Land Rovers will make the Agisters’ lives easier and have a direct impact on the work they do.’

At the Authority’s request the Land Rovers have been specially chosen so they can be fuelled with a mix of bio-diesel in order to make them sustainable.

Lindsay Cornish, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park, said: ‘The work of the Verderers in keeping the practice of Commoning alive is essential to our key purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park and promoting understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities.'

‘This partnership between the Authority and the Verderers will also help them to help us deliver our second purpose; when they are out on the Forest they will be explaining their own and the National Park’s work to the people they meet.’

All the Agisters will carry copies of the New Forest National Park Pocket Guide, explaining the key features and priorities of the National Park.

Notes to editors:

1. There will be a photo opportunity of the handing over of the Land Rover keys from Lindsay Cornish, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority to Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre, Official Verderer at 3.00 pm on Wednesday 26 July in the East Ring, at the New Forest Show and Hampshire County Show, The Showground, New Park, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QH.

2. At 10am the Verderers will be putting signage on the Land Rovers, if you would like to go along and see this please visit the Verderers’ stand in the Forestry Commission tent.

3. For more information on the work of the Verderers, Agisters and Commoning visit www.verderers.org.uk

Media contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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