New Forest Drift| 30mins
Director: Sally Fear | Producer: Sally Fear
Focus Years: 2006 | Country: United Kingdom
The New Forest pony is much more than a tourist attraction, it is vital to the survival of this ancient pasture woodland, the largest in Europe. The ponies on the forest belong to the commoners: the people with â€œrightsâ€ attached to their land, which means they can run their animals on the forest. Without the ponies browsing and grazing the land, within a year the forest would be overgrown and eventually impenetrable. Yet the 1,000-year-old tradition of commoning and the unique management that supports them are under threat. The rise in New Forest property prices makes it impossible for the younger commoners to live in the forest where they were born. Ten percent of the commoning families own 80 percent of the animals, so if these families ever drift from commoning there won't be many animals left in the New Forest.