Gorse grows in many parts of the Forest, in thick clumps the animals use as shelter. Even though its leaves are spiny, the animals still eat it, especially in winter. It’s also known as furze (pronounced fuzz). Some commoners remember collecting the furze, and chopping it in a chaff cutter with mangles to make a feed for their animals.
When gorse gets old, it becomes spindly, so it’s burned or cut- down to re-grow thick and bushy again. The New Forest gorse is home to lizards and other wildlife, including a very rare bird called the Dartford Warbler. That’s one reason why there are strict rules about how and when the gorse is burned.