COMMONING Voices is a new exhibition designed to help visitors step into the real New Forest this winter.

Through photographs, audio and video the exhibition aims to show the passion commoners have for the New Forest, their animals and their community, and invites visitors to learn more about this important aspect of forest life.

Commoners have shaped the forest in many ways, whether it’s the rare southern damselfly, which lays its eggs in the pools made by pony hoof prints, the carefully nibbled gorse bushes which provide the perfect place for stonechats to perch on, or the pony paths, which lead visitors deep in to the forest.

Many of the photographs in the exhibition have been taken by local photographer Sally Fear, whose images have documented commoning over the past two decades.

Other photographs come from the family albums of commoners, recorded as part of the Through Our Ancestors’ Eyes project, and the collections of the Christopher Tower Reference Library in the New Forest Heritage Centre.

Head Agister Brian Ingram officially opened the exhibition, which is free, at the weekend.

It runs until Sunday January 6, 2019, at the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst, and is open from 10am until 3.30pm.