Pannage in the New Forest

Pannage in the New Forest

Pannage in the New Forest - Hampshire

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The New Forest located in the south of Hampshire (UK) is well known for its nature such as roaming cattle and iconic New Forest ponies.  However, every September another animal is permitted to discover the beauty and treasures of the Forest, the humble pig. 

What is Pannage? Or Common Mast?

The practice of allowing Commoners to free their domestic pigs to roam the New Forest is called Pannage.  Pannage is also named Common Mast.  Pannage takes place every September when acorns and other nuts fall from the trees.  The pigs will scour the forest to eat up all the acorns and nuts to unknowingly help the ponies and other cattle, in which these “pig treats” would be poisonous.

When did Pannage start in the New Forest?

Pannage was common practice across the country in days gone by but is now uncommon. William Conqueror who founded the New Forest in 1079 permitted the practice and has continued to the present day.


When does Pannage start this year?

2023 Pannage begins on the Monday 11 September until Friday 17 November.

How long does Pannage last?

Pannage will last for approximately 60 days, it can be extended by the Verderers of the New Forest.

Verderers are unpaid persons who look after the forest to preserve the health and beauty. Verderers ensure that the interests of the New Forest commoners are also protected for their cattle to craze on the common land.
Outside of pannage season you may be see pigs roaming the New Forest, these will only be female pigs. 

How many pigs roam the New Forest during Pannage?

In the 19th century it was as many as 6,000 pigs, but the present day it is up to 600 pigs and piglets allowed to hoover up all the acorns and nuts from the forest floor during Pannage.

Where’s the best place to see Pannage in the New Forest?

Bramshaw village located on the North side of the New Forest or near Bolderwood on the South of the New Forest is where you will have the best chance of seeing the pigs during the Pannage season.
Like all animals in the New Forest, pigs have right of way on the roads. Please be patient if a four-legged friend stops in the middle of the road to take in the view.  It really is a unique sight to see pigs roaming the forest however, we advise visitors to view the pigs from a safe distance as they can bite.

Don’t the pigs destroy the Forest?

The pigs must have rings in their nose to ensure that they can move the leaves and the other foliage on the forest floor to discover the acorns and nuts, it also prevents the pigs from digging into the ground.

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