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Prepare for the pig – autumn pannage dates revealed for New Forest

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THE dates of this autumn’s pannage season have been announced at a meeting of the Verderers' Court.

Forestry England Deputy Surveyor Craig Harrison revealed that pigs could be turned out from Monday 19th September until Friday 18th November.

Every autumn hundreds of commoners' pigs are allowed out to roam the Forest to eat nuts, including acorns, chestnuts and beechmast, which are poisonous to grazing animals.

Wendy Maughan's pannage pigs
Wendy Maughan's pannage pigs

Commoners pay a fee for each pig which must all be marked with an eartag and have a ring put through their noses to limit ground damage by rooting.

Mr Harrison reminded commoners that pigs could not be turned out until they had been inspected by an agister, and they should not be released into the inclosures.

He warned: “Any unmarked animals running on the Forest do so in contravention of the verderers' bylaws and the owner is liable to a fine of up to £200.”

Some breeding sows may be permitted to stay on the open Forest after the end of pannage but only if agreed in writing by the Deputy Surveyor for a specified period.

Property owners are responsibility for insuring their land is properly fenced to stop animals getting in.

Pannage runs for around 60 days and has been a tradition in the Forest since the time of William the Conqueror.

The start of the season is determined by the weather and when the acorns fall.

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