DID you manage to catch A Year in the Wild Wood?

It was aired on BBC4 at the beginning of the month and showed the New Forest at its very best.

The colours of the trees from the drone shots were amazing and the wildlife photography was fantastic.

We are all a bit guilty of taking for granted the treasures which the Forest holds. If you missed it, it is still available on the BBC iPlayer.

Robert and several other commoners were involved in the filming.

The natural history shots were incredible, particularly the Large Marsh Grasshopper in the bog, apparently the New Forest is one of only two places in the UK where it can be found, and the Nightjar which has travelled all the way from Africa, it certainly brought back memories of the long warm nights of summer.

On summer evenings the nightjars catch moths drawn to the lights around the house.

We are still feeling the effects of the long dry summer.

Despite the occasional heavy downpour the bogs don’t seem as full as normal and we are still able to ride in places that are normally off limits at this time of year.

A week or so ago I was trotting across the Forest and the hollow sound of the pony’s hooves as they hit the ground just didn’t sound like winter.

For us January is the month when we have our annual TB test and when the bull arrives on the farm. All New Forest cattle are tested within a four month window in the winter, ensuring all of the cattle are tested at the same time and any cattle brought in to the Forest are double tested.

It is vital that we keep the Forest wide herd free of TB and other diseases so that we can continue to turn our animals out in to the Forest where their grazing benefits us all.

The dry weather has allowed the burning teams to get out early this year.

Burning is a really vital management tool in the Forest which helps to protect it from summer wild fires and creates a mosaic of different aged heathland.

The Commoning Voices exhibition was a real success and attracted 10000 visitors whilst at the New Forest Heritage Centre.

We are looking for venues within and beyond the Forest to host the exhibition so if you know of a space which could host it do please get in touch.

Whether it is a space in an office foyer or a village hall we have designed the exhibition so that it is modular and can be travelled as a whole or in parts.

It is currently in the foyer of Lymington Town Hall, minus the sound but with the scent.

Reflecting on the project as a whole it has been wonderful to meet with so many people and share our love of the Forest and of commoning.

Remember to #add3minutes to each journey across the Forest and enjoy this special place.

Lyndsey Stride

Commoning Family

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