Shared Forest Project

What is it about?

The project aims to maintain the unique commoning heritage of the New Forest and develop a programme of learning and discovery that will increase public support and understanding for the commoning way of life.

Work within Shared Forest will consider the role of publicity campaigns and other interpretation material in changing people’s behaviour. This will build an understanding of the belief systems that lie behind behaviours and identify the differences between beliefs in people who comply and those who do not. The results of this will influence future campaigns in the final three years of the project.

The project will result in a positive outcome for the Forest, for instance, with more careful driving on Forest roads, no feeding of livestock, avoiding drifts and better understanding of commoning.

The project will:

  • result in Commoners having fewer problems with the public, such as less reports of ponies being fed, fewer animals involved in accidents on Forest roads and fewer conflicts with the public over commoning activities
  • enable volunteers to interact better with the public and develop a positive relationship with them rather than having to dispense negative messages
  • improve public support, understanding of and engagement with commoning
  • educate school children at 13 participating schools, giving them a better appreciation of the cultural heritage of the Forest through a specially designed toolkit.

Work in the first year will include:

  • delivering a primary schools toolkit on commoning
  • producing a welcome home pack for distribution by estate agents to new property owners
  • a DriveSafe day at three tertiary educational institutions across the Forest
  • the assessment of the effectiveness of all existing educational tools (e.g. children’s story books, posters and information leaflets), including their content, their effectiveness at improving people’s understanding of commoning, and how they are distributed.

Volunteering and Training

Volunteers will work with the project co-ordinator in the design, development and distribution of the learning materials and monitoring questionnaires. They will also become ambassadors for spreading the commoning message.

Volunteers will be trained in the skills needed to speak to the public about commoning and in the correct delivery of questionnaires.

Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme.


The long term legacy of the project is an improved public awareness about the role and significance of commoning is essential to its continuation. By monitoring the effectiveness of the different methods used this project, it is also hoped future campaigns are effective.

Contact Details

Jo Ivey - Commoners Defence Association

Tel: 01590 626707 email: