Keeping sheep in the Forest
When you visit the Forest of Dean, you will be sure to see
lots of sheep roaming around the forest and the roads. This
is due to an ancient right bestowed upon foresters from Norman
times. The right applies to people born within the Hundred
of St. Briavels (effectively anywhere in the forest). The
sheep keepers, known locally as "Sheep Badgers"
simply turn their sheep out to graze. They are visited very
regularly, and you may be fortunate to see one of the Badgers
working with his sheepdogs.
Keeping pigs in the Forest
Another ancient right, which allows the locals to graze their
pigs in forest in the autumn months, where they feed on the
acorns from the oak trees.
Anyone born in the Forest of Dean within the Hundred of St.
Briavels, and who has worked in a mine for a year and a day,
may open up his own coal mine. There are very few freeminers
at work today, but there are some! These mines are drift mines
(a tunnel excavated into a hillside), and the mners sell their
coal locally. One such mine, Hopewell Colliery, is now open
to the public.
up the torch (you will need it!) and visit the Forest Freeminer