The Grazers: Ecology and Behaviour of the Common Stock

  • R. J. Putman


The most abundant of the animals pastured under Common Rights today on the New Forest are the cattle and ponies. While the cattle are for the most part common everyday beef breeds, such as Hereford cross and other crossbreeds, turned out for the rough grazing the Forest affords, the New Forest pony has more of a tradition attached to it. Indeed, no-one knows precisely how long ponies have run upon the Forest. Certainly they are mentioned in Domesday Book — though it is not clear whether even by this stage these were domestic animals turned out to graze by private owners, much as they are today, or whether the Forest area may have supported truly wild stock — and it seems probable that the Forest has supported its own distinctive breed of pony for many centuries. Valerie Russell writes:

In the days when the moors and forests of Southern England stretched practically unbroken from Southampton to Dartmoor, and even possibly to the fringes of Exmoor, wild ponies are believed to have wandered freely over the area. With the advance of civilisation sections of the Forest and moors were cultivated so that the ponies were restricted much more to the areas from which the present-day breeds take their name. (Russell 1976)


Home Range Vegetation Type Pteridium Aquilinum Deciduous Woodland Ground Flora 
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Copyright information

© Roderick J. Putman 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Putman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of SouthamptonUK

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