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New Forest Shortbread is homemade by Tracy Thew

When Tracy moved to Burley Rails Cottage in 2011, 200 years after the cottage was built; she did not realise what a success working from home would be. Tracy is a lady who loves to bake and having made shortbread for family and friends for many years, she decided to offer these melt in the mouth shortbread to people visiting the New Forest. 

To keep the homemade taste and texture, Tracy makes small batches of dough, about 80 at a time. Each batch is very slightly different in weight and mixing time, so they vary enough to give the shortbread a variety of shape and colour once baked. 

Inspired and created around the beauty of the New Forest; in 2019 Tracy realised that the words on the New Forest Shortbread labels would be so much more interesting in pictures. Supplying local forest hotels and holiday cottages with packets of her New Forest Shortbread, Tracy set about redesigning the packaging with 'tear-off and keep cards' and commissioned local artist Will Drew to illustrate the flora and fauna that visitors might see during their stay in the area. Will's beautiful illustrations, along with the notes, give visitors and locals information about this very special forest.

Originally a woodman's cottage and now home to New Forest Shortbread

Burley Rails Cottage is where New Forest Shortbread has been made since 2011. 

The cottage was built in 1811 as a woodman’s cottage. The woodman was responsible for the fencing to keep the Commoners animals out of the tree-growing nurseries called Inclosures or Enclosures.

There are many cottages of the same design within the New Forest, most remain Crown properties and are occupied by people who have chosen to live and work in the forest such as Keepers, Agisters, Forestry workers and Crown employees. Sometimes these jobs are a lifestyle choice as these people may also be the Commoners who own the livestock, horses, cattle and pigs; de-pastured on the open forest.

These Crown cottages, being tenanted, have, apart from essential additions, remained the same for hundreds of years. Burley Rails was sold out of the then Forestry Commission and has been privately owned since the 1970’s.