LARGE acorn windfalls mean that the New Forest pannage season has been extended.
The annual event sees pigs turned out onto the open Forest by commoners to eat the nuts that are poisonous to ponies and cattle.
The season started in early September and usually lasts 60 days. However, unusual quantities of acorns have resulted in an extension of 43 days being granted until Monday 23rd December.
Forestry England deputy surveyor Bruce Rothnie explained: “Pigs do a vital job of eating many of the acorns that fall at this time of year – acorns are tasty for them, but poisonous for the ponies and cattle that roam the area freely.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Verderers’ Court, Mr Rothnie continued: “All pigs must be removed from the Forest by this revised end date.”
He said that in some circumstances breeding sows may be allowed the privilege of remaining on the open Forest beyond the end of the pannage season, but only if authorised in writing by the deputy surveyor for a specific period of time.
Commoners Defence Association chairman Tony Hockley said: “I’d like to thank the deputy surveyor for his swift response to our request to extend the pannage season.”