New Forest pigs roam free

New Forest pigs roam free

Every year between September and November, pigs are allowed to roam free throughout the woods, pastures and bogs of the New Forest. Known as the pannage season, it is a vital part of the New Forest’s ecology.

The idea, which dates back to the times of William the Conqueror, is that the domestic pigs feed on fallen acorns, beech mast, chestnuts and other nuts. Excessive amounts of acorns are poisonous to the ponies and cattle which roam in the New Forest. So the pigs are sent in on a mission to snuffle up all the acorns.

The nutty diet does not harm the pigs and instead creates pannage pork which has a distinctive and sought-after earthy flavour. The pork is in high-demand and has been likened to Spain’s Iberico pork.

Fred Duncannon, co-owner of Stansted Park Farm Shop is taking orders for pannage pork which will be available from the shop in December, “In terms of taste and welfare, there is nothing to compare with pannage pork in the UK. It is as close to wild pork as you can get, as the pigs are free to roam throughout the New Forest”.

Demand outstrips supply when it comes to pannage pork so if you’d like to make sure there’s a piece with your name on it we recommend ordering it as soon as possible. It is available locally from Stansted Park Farm Shop and also from Swallowfield Farm in the New Forest.

More details:

Stansted Park Farm Shop, butchery open Thursday to Saturday with beef and wild venison from the Stansted Estate, South Downs lamb and local game. Delivery is available throughout the UK, contact the shop as soon as possible if you are interested in pannage pork.

Swallowfields Farm, home to New Forest wild boar, free range pork and beef cattle. All enquires to be made via the website -