New Official Verderer for the New Forest
Lord Manners takes the helM as Official Verderer
The New Forest Verderers have welcomed a new leader following the retirement of Dominic May, who has held the post for the past six years. The new Official Verderer is former solicitor Lord 'Willie' Manners, who is following in his father’s footsteps.
Speaking at the monthly Court of Verderers in Lyndhurst he said: “My first task is to say how honoured I am to have been chosen. Starting out in a post such as this, one often feels that one is standing on the shoulders of giants. However, it is my hope and intention to serve the Forest to the best of my ability and be a worthy successor to those giants. At the last court many fulsome tributes were rightly paid to my predecessor. Since I was appointed in March, Dominic has given me an enormous amount of his time and his knowledge to ensure that I hit the ground running and for that I am extremely grateful.”
Lord Manners, 60, is married with four children and lives at North Ripley, near Bransgore. His father was Official Verderer in the 1980s, when the Verderers helped defeat a highly controversial Private Member’s Bill that would have resulted in a Lyndhurst bypass. The scheme aimed to ease the gridlock that occurs in the area but conservationists said the proposed new road would have a devastating impact on the countryside and forest surrounding the town.
The Verderers Court is a statutory body set up under the New Forest act of 1877. It is the last remnant of the old form of Forest Government which was at one time found in many parts of the Country. The Verderers regulate and adminster the commoning system (the exercise of common rights such as grazing ponies) in the Forest. They also have wide responsibilities in respect of development control and conservation. The present Court consists of 10 Verderers. 5 are elected by the Commoners (people with common rights) and the other 5 are appointed, one each by DEFRA, the Forestry Commission, the National Park Authority and the Countryside Agency. The Official Verderer is chairman of the Court and is appointed by the Queen.