A PIGLET has been killed in a hit-and-run accident in the New Forest - just days after the start of the annual pannage season.

It happened at Emery Down, near Lyndhurst, on a road which villagers say is being used a rat-run by drivers coming off the nearby A31.

The six-month-old piglet is thought to have died instantly in the collision.

Daily Echo:

All the free-roaming animals in the Forest are owned by people known as commoners - villagers with the right to let their animals graze the landscape.

Every autumn pigs are turned out to gobble up the fallen acorns that are poisonous to ponies and cattle.

The piglet's owner, Lyndsey Stride, said: "We are proud New Forest commoners and take great pleasure in continuing the traditional practice of pannage.

"It was devastating to find our pig dead on the road. Accidents happen but it's inexcusable not to report it to the police or the Verderers."

A 40mph speed limit exists of unfenced roads in the Forest but Ms Stride is an ardent supporter of the Add Three Minutes campaign.

She said: "If drivers drop their speed to 30mph it will add only three minutes to an average seven-mile Forest journey - is that too much to ask?

"Drivers should always be ready to stop quickly. Pigs, ponies, deer and cows could run into the road at any point.

"The traditional practice of commoning has shaped the incredible landscape we all know and love. Many nationally-rare flora and fauna depend on grazing for their survival.

"Should we be forced to give up commoning so that people can drive quickly.

"Lockdown reminded us of the peace and tranquility the New Forest brings. It was serenely quiet and the wildlife thrived. Now the roads are once again dangerous.

"If a national park is a national treasure to be protected we need to see change."

Daily Echo:

The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) took to social media following the piglet's death.

The NPA tweeted: "This is sad news so soon after the start of pannage season.

"If you have an accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep call 999 in an emergency or 101 for a non-emergency.

"You must report all accidents to the police as soon as possible."