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March

First signs of Spring

As the days start to get longer and the grass and shrubs return to growth animals that have overwintered on the back-up land used by commoners are returning to the Open Forest. The final heath burning has to be completed before birds start to nest around the end of the month and commoners must also have finished their Spring hedge-cutting on their back-up grazing land ahead of the start of nesting. The daylight hours are certainly increasing, but alongside everything else getting cutting down before nesting means that they (or their commoner contractors) are out on the tractors before dawn and after dusk, to get the works down around their day jobs.

The Spring also sees the many annual meetings of the various important New Forest societies, with considerable overlap in memberships and officers, so this is a particularly busy time for some commoners. Annual reports from the Commoners Defence Association and the other groups will be dropping on doormats, with detailed reports and information on the Forest and its livestock in the previous year. March and April see the AGMs not only of the Commoners Defence Association, but also the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society (The Breed Society), the Friends of the New Forest, and the New Forest Equestrian Association.

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