The CDA is at the heart of the strong sense of community within commoning. It provides a voice for the commoners and a forum to debate issues as they arise. Many of its campaigns have to be maintained over generations, but are recognised to make a real contribution to commoning, Above all the CDA has had to fight hard to ensure that there remains a sufficient supply of affordable land and homes for the future. It has also worked hard to ensure that young commoners are supported and encouraged to keep commoning, alongside increasingly pressured lives. The creation of a Young Commoners group has helped enormously in bringing these young people together for mutual support and to give them a voice within the Association, and to make commoning an enjoyable community activity.

Commoners are committed to the local community. You will find them in all walks of New Forest life. Whilst you might fully expect to find commoners working the landscape, as rangers for example, they are also active in local government, industries, and public services. Commoners are not a reclusive, secretive group, but fully engaged in the community of the New Forest, and with a strong commitment to remain engaged for the long term.

© 2018 Sally Fear

Community

A surprisingly small number of families provide the “backbone” of commoning – committed to the New Forest for generations and deeply knowledgeable about the landscape. Their understanding and skillful care for the Forest has been passed down through the commoning community, often starting to help out as toddlers. Of course, commoning also embraces anyone who is willing to commit to learning the ropes, work with other commoners, and show the same respect for the Forest. A mentoring scheme has been bringing experienced commoners together with newcomers to share their knowledge and expertise. This strong sense of mutual support is at the heart of the commoning community, with each looking out for their colleagues’ animals.  

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