The present Verderers Court is a corporate body set up by the 1877 New Forest Act and the 1949 New Forest Act, in which they are charged with managing commoning and to act as regulators of development in the New Forest. They play an important role in forest management.
Who are the Agisters?
The overall responsibility for the welfare of the stock lies with the commoners, however five Agisters are employed by the Verderers to oversee the stock, making sure that all animals are in good condition throughout the year. The Agisters are also on-call 24hrs a day seven days a week to deal with any problems involving the stock. Agisters also collect marking fees in the spring from the practicing commoners. The marking fee is a payment of money per animal which is paid to the Verderers for the Agisters services.
The beauty of the New Forest lies in its diversity. Much of it is very valuable in scientific terms, especially for its biodiversity, and are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest under English law and as Special Areas for Conservation (SAC) under European Law. The New Forest as we know it today has been crafted by the commoners’ animals only balanced and skilfully managed grazing maintains both the rich mosaic of plants (and thus insects, birds and mammals) on which the biodiversity value rests.