> About the Forest
Ashdown Forest covers 6,400 acres of the High Weald although in ancient times it spread over twice its present area. It is the remains of the Lancaster Great Park deer hunting forest, originally enclosed by a pale in 1296.
The presence of iron ore in the Weald clay ensured the destruction of the native trees for smelting and the Rights of Common (grazing and cutting estovers) existing over the Forest have prevented re-forestation.
Today the Forest is managed by a Board of Conservators who are empowered by the Ashdown Forest Act of 1974.
Free public access on foot exists over most of the Forest. Visitors are attracted to the Forest for a variety of reasons. Horse riders have countless bridleways available to them - but riding is strictly by permit only (obtainable from the Conservators).
There are over fifty car parks, many with picnic tables, from which walkers can explore. Bird watchers come from all over the country to enjoy the variety of birds to be found (see the Wildlife section for more detailed information).
A booklet "Information on Ashdown Forest" is available from the Ashdown Forest Information Centre
Rangers - Daytime and Night Emergencies: 01342 822846, Riding Information: 01342 824177.
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