On Wednesday of this week, I had, what some people might refer to as, ‘a moment’. It was a
nice moment, not one of those ‘throw something across the room type moments’, in fact,
quite the opposite. It was a gloriously spring-like February morning (and yes, I was
desperately trying not to question why it was so warm for this time of year) and I found
myself strolling through our beautiful grounds thinking about the words of our guest speaker
that morning, Mr. Jonathan Garelli, Head Agister for the New Forest National Park. It was a
moment when it dawned on me, more than ever before, that as an individual, and as a
member of this community, we are part of something extraordinarily unique and wonderful.
Mr. Garelli had spoken to the pupils that morning about the work of the Agisters and the
Verderers in the New Forest and emphasised the role that we, as genuine residents in the
National Park, must play in its long term, sustainable future. What struck me, in particular,
was that this incredibly complex system has been in place since Saxon and Norman times
and yet here we are in this ‘technological age’ deploying the same techniques and systems
that have worked for almost 1000 years. It was William the Conqueror who established the
‘New Forest’ and with it a Court of Verderers, who were required to oversee the ‘vert and the
venison’ (i.e. the deer and the grass). Today, it is the Verderers who employ the Agisters to
supervise the day to day management and welfare of the Commoners’ livestock that graze
the Forest. With our unique location in the National Park, we are, I believe, the only school to
be exercising ‘commoners’ rights’ and soon our very own Moyles Court ponies will be
grazing the Forest. It is an amazing opportunity for our pupils, but also one which helps them
understand the complex inter-connectedness that exists within the National Park and the
role they will play in ensuring it continues to exist for at least another 1000 years. How mindblowingly amazing is that?
In the meantime, our most recent addition to the team, a Shetland Pony, is desperately
looking for a name, so if you haven’t yet had a chance to enter the ‘name the pony’
competition, then please ensure your entry is in before the end of next week.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend and if you are coming to our Open Morning tomorrow,
then a very warm welcome awaits you.