Title - Verderers of the New Forest


To report Road Traffic Accidents involving Forest stock (ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys) - ring the Police on 999.

Have you been involved in an accident, or are you a witness? Please read this important information.

If you find a sick, injured or dead pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep (other than one involved in a RTA), call 02380 282052 during normal office hours, or 0300 067 4600 at other times. For sick or injured deer, ring the Forestry Commission on 0300 067 4600. Do not use email or the contact form on this website to try and contact the Verderers in an emergency.

Livestock deaths

Drive with care in the Forest - 56 livestock were killed in 2017 (thankfully a reduction from 63 in 2016). A further 22 animals were injured (excluding deer), also a reduction from 35 in 2016.

An overview of the role and history of the Verderers

The New Forest

The New Forest is a royal former hunting area in Hampshire, and was constituted by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

It is a nationally important environment of woodland pasture, heath, bog and the remains of 17th, 18th & 19th century coppices and timber plantations. It retains many of the agricultural practices conceded by the Crown in historical times to local people. Principal of these is the depasturing of ponies, cattle, pigs and donkeys in the Open Forest by authorised local inhabitants known as Commoners.

The New Forest is an outstanding recreational area for walking and horse riding.

The Crown still owns most of the land within the Forest. William imposed legal powers to arrest settlement by the local inhabitants and these limitations remain in modified form to this day. The rights of Commoners must be taken into account, together with preservation and enhancement of the flora and fauna.

The role of the Verderers

The role of the Verderers of the New Forest is to:

  • protect and administer the New Forest's unique agricultural commoning practices;
  • conserve its traditional landscape, wildlife and aesthetic character, including its flora and fauna, peacefulness, natural beauty and cultural heritage;
  • safeguard a viable future for commoning upon which the foregoing depends.

The Verderers derive their offices, powers and responsibilities from an Act of Parliament in 1877 (and subsequent Acts - a link to the Acts is available on the Links page).

The Court comprises the Official Verderer (Chairman), five elected Verderers representing the Commoners and four appointed Verderers: one each appointed by the Forestry Commission, DEFRA, the National Park Authority and Natural England. The post of Official Verderer is a statutory appointment made by Her Majesty the Queen.

We work in conjunction with the Forestry Commission (which manages the Forest on behalf of the Crown), Natural England, and with owners of other areas of common land within the Forest, such as the National Trust.

This website

This website is principally focussed at the requirements of Commoners, other Forest professionals and local inhabitants.

We welcome other visitors to the site and offer Education and FAQ pages. These provide a foundation for appreciating the Forest's splendour and the management of this unique farming environment. They also promote responsible attitudes from visitors and local inhabitants in their activities within this special place.

Quick Links

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Clerk to the Verderers

The Clerk manages the Verderers' Office and is the initial contact for all enquiries. Please use the Contact Form on the Contact web-page.

Avoiding Animal Accidents

The multi-agency Animal Accident Reduction Group meets twice a year to review recent accident records and consider what more can be done to reduce accidents.

The National Park's website has excellent information on Animal Accidents (where you can download an animal accident hotline card) and how to avoid accidents by Driving Carefully.

HIT & RUN accidents

There is a reward of up to £5000 for information leading to the successful conviction of drivers prosecuted for failing to stop and report an accident involving a Forest animal. This reward is offered with the support of the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society, the New Forest Commoners’ Defence Association and World Horse Welfare for which support the Verderers are very grateful.

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Website maintained by Graham Cooper.
Last modified 27-Nov-2019. Copyright © 2017 - Verderers of the New Forest.