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When does pannage season start in the New Forest in 2021?

THE dates of this year’s pannage season have been announced at the first public meeting of the Verderers' Court for 16 months.

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

Forestry England Deputy Surveyor Bruce Rothnie told the hearing that pigs could be turned out from Monday 13th September until Sunday 14th November.

Pannage pigs at Commoner's Larder
Pannage pigs at Commoner's Larder

He 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.

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

Mr Rothnie 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 were also warned it was their responsibility to ensure land was properly fenced to stop animals getting in.

Pannage has been a tradition since the time of William the Conqueror, and usually runs for around 60 days. The start of the season varies according to the weather and when the acorns fall.

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