There are rules (known as bye-laws) about what can and can’t be done on the Forest. Some rules apply throughout the Forest, and some apply to certain areas, depending on who owns the land. Most of the Forest is owned by the state, and has Forestry Commission bye-laws. There are separate bye-laws for the areas owned by the National Trust. You should get to know the bye-laws, because they help protect the Forest.

Do you know the rules?

Here are some of the basic rules about commoning and the Forest:

  • Commoners have to pay ‘marking fees’ for each of the animals they turn out each year.
  • A pig can only be let out if it has a ring in its nose- the ring is meant to stop the pig from digging up the ground too much.
  • Agisters have the power to order commoners to take injured or unwell animals off the Forest.
  • Ponies can’t be let out on the Forest if they have shoes.
  • Males sheep, pigs and cattle can’t be let out on the Forest, and there are special rules about stallions.
  • No-one can fence off parts of the Forest without permission from the Verderers.
  • You mustn’t feed the animals. Feeding encourages them to hang-around by the roads, which makes accidents more likely.