Once again a fairly heavy acorn crop is expected this year, and therefore the Forestry Commission and Verderers have agreed that the pannage season will commence on Saturday 8th September. Unless an extension is agreed, the pannage season will end on Sunday 11th November.
Pannage is the practice of turning out domestic pigs in a wood or forest in order that they may feed on fallen acorns, beech mast, chestnuts or other nuts. Historically, it was a right or privilege granted to local people on common land and it is still an important part of the New Forest’s ecology. It helps the husbandry of the other New Forest livestock – pigs can safely eat acorns as a large part of their diet, whereas excessive amounts are poisonous to ponies and cattle.
Owners of property abutting the Forest are reminded that it is their responsibility to fence out Forest animals from their land. Fences that keep ponies and cattle out will not necessarily be adequate to stop pigs.
Commoners who wish to exercise their right of pannage are reminded that they must arrange for their Agister to inspect, mark and ring their pigs at least 14 days before they turn them out. This means that anyone wishing to turn their pigs out on the first day of the pannage season must have had them marked by 25th August.
For further information regarding the pannage season, please contact the Verderers’ office at The Queen’s House, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7NH or telephone 02380 282052.
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