Welcome to the website of the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, known as the CDA. The New Forest is an exceptional area of open heath and woodland covering some 37,500 hectares between the southern coastal towns of Southampton and Bournemouth. The extraordinary landscape, biodiversity and character of the area is dependent upon the constant grazing by commoners' animals, mostly cows and ponies. There are about five hundred practicing commoners in the New Forest, exercising the Forest Rights that are associated with local land that they either rent or own. Very few commoners earn their main income from their animals, this means that most of them fit these activities around already busy lives, 365 days of the year. The CDA was formed in 1909, to give commoners a voice, and to better ensure the survival of the practice of commoning and everything that depends upon it.
For more information on commoning and how you can help us keep the New Forest special you can also look at our associated Shared Forest website
As part of its work the CDA is now leading a Shared Forest project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project is helping create a real sense of shared responsibility for this special place, and creating lots of new ways for everyone to learn about the "real" New Forest and find ways to "do their bit" to guarantee its survival. Find out more about this project here. Funds from the project are also helping the CDA create a brand new website, with much more content for a much wider audience, which will be launching in Spring 2018.
CHECK OUT OUR 'NEWS AND MEETINGS' PAGE FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION AND WHAT'S GOING ON!