Things to do & see
One of the very first signs of autumn here in the New Forest is pannage season, when hundreds of New Forest Commoners release their pigs into the forest to do a very important job. The practice of pannage season dates all the way back to the time of William the Conqueror, who founded the New Forest. Keep on reading to find out more about why they are released and where to spot them…
During autumn months, up to 600 are released into the New Forest National Park to roam around and eat the fallen acorns. This helps our new forest ponies and cattle, who can be poisoned by the acorns if they eat them. Pigs however, are believed to spit out the toxic skins and carry on enjoying the acorns! Along with acorns, pigs also love to hoover up beech mast, crab apples, chestnuts and anything else they find on the forest floor.
Typically, you can see the pigs roaming the forest floors from around the third week in September to mid-November, but it will depend on when the acorns and beech mast drop from the oak and beech trees. You may spot them with rings on their noses, which stops them from snuffling too far into the ground and damaging the forest floor. Some different breeds you can spot include Tamworth, Gloucestershire Old Spot, the British Saddleback and the Wessex Saddleback, there isn’t a specific breed of our new forest friends.
If you’re look to head to the New Forest to spot these forest friends, then here are our top 3 pannage spotting places:
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