T – A-Z of Commoning and the New Forest


Turbary is the common right to cut turf for fuel. Turf isn’t much used now, but there are still commoners who remember collecting it. The turf was cut into small slabs, and pairs of slabs would be stood up- one leaning against the other- so that air could pass between them and help them to dry out.

There were special rules about how and where the turf could be cut, which were to prevent the land from being completely stripped bare. A commoner wanting turf would have to apply to the local keeper for permission, and would get a ‘ticket’ to cut turf from a particular part of the Forest. The Verderers (see V) could set charges for turf cutting. Under the New Forest Act of 1877, the maximum charge was sixpence for every thousand turves.