Green Dragon Publishing

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Agisters there are five in the forest, each with their own district. They collect fees from commoners who keep livestock on the forest and do all they can to make sure the animals are fit and well.

Bats – about 13 species live in the New Forest. The ones you are most likely to see are Natterer’s, Whiskered, Serotine, Long-eared or Pipistrelle but if lucky, you might spot Barbastelle or Bechstein’s Bats.

Bog Myrtle is a low bushy plant that thrives in or near acid bogs. Its leaves are poisonous but smell great.

Brands – each commoner has their own, used to show which ponies belong to them. The Verderers keep a record of brands used.

Buck is the name for a male fallow or roe deer.


Commoners are people who occupy land with forest rights and keep ponies, cattle, donkeys, pigs or sheep on the forest.

Curlews are wading birds that come to wet heathland areas of the forest to breed in spring.

Cotton Grass has fluffy white seeds that look like cotton wool. If you see it, be careful where you tread - it grows on boggy ground!

Colts are male foals.

Dam is what the mother of a foal is called.

Deer – Red Deer, Roe Deer and Fallow Deer live in the New Forest. You may also see Sika and Muntjac.

Drift – the Agisters organise ‘drifts’ or ‘round ups’ so that ponies can be checked over to make sure they are healthy. Foals are branded and owners collect any ponies or foals they wish to move or sell.

Filly is the name for a female foal

Furze is another name for Gorse, often used in the New Forest.

Gorse is a spiky bush with yellow flowers. Despite its prickliness, the ponies like to eat it when other food is scarce.

Haunt – ponies can roam as far as they wish in the forest but they usually favour the areas most familiar to them. These are called ‘haunts’.

Inclosures are areas of the New Forest that have been fenced and often planted with trees for timber.

Keepers in the New Forest manage the wildlife in their area. They check that numbers of deer, rabbits, hares and squirrels are kept under control and make sure that people obey the bye-laws.

Mires are low-lying, boggy places. They are home to an amazing range of plant and insect species that are not found elsewhere.


The New Forest was established by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a royal hunting ground. It became a National Park in 2005.

New Forest Ponies are well known for their intelligence, strength and sure-footedness. They may be almost any colour except skewbald or piebald.

Ragwort - yellow flowers growing on tall stems in grassland. Poisonous to ponies and cattle, especially deadly if left to wilt.

The Rut is name for the deer’s breeding season. Red Deer rut from mid September to late October, Fallow Deer from late September to October and Roe Deer in late July and August.

Sedge grows in clumps of narrow leaves with long spiky flower heads. It likes damp grassland or marshes.

Sphagnum Moss grows in mires and other boggy places. It isn’t as firm as it looks!

Verderers protect the landscape of the New Forest to conserve its beauty as well as overseeing the traditional practice of commoning.

White Buck – legends about white deer exist all over the country. In the New Forest, some of the fallow deer are white and there are several stories about mysterious white bucks.

Withers – the highest point on a pony’s back, at the base of the mane.