Since the 1960s there’s been a fence all round the Forest. Where roads enter the Forest there are cattle grids to stop the animals from getting out, with gates for horse riders.
Before the Forest was fenced the commoners’ animals would often wander off towards neighbouring towns. Ponies that left the Forest were called ‘lane creepers’, because they would work their way along the lanes eating the grass verges and hedges. Lane creepers caused all sorts of problems for their owners, especially if they broke into gardens or farmlands and caused damage. Sometimes the wandering animals would be impounded, and the commoners would have to pay to get them back.
I Prayed to the Lord
Lane creeping was a problem for Raymond Bennett when he got a message on Christmas day that his ponies had wandered out of the Forest, miles from his house. Hear him tell the story.