Welcome to the Ashdown Forest news and events section, see below for the bulletins prior to 2017. Please be sure to review our exhibitions and events listings to see whats happening on the Forest.

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  • The Annual Meeting of the Commoners of Ashdown Forest is on Friday 6th March 2020. Please note that the Commoners may elect a non-commoner for the 2020 Commoners’ election. Ashdown Forest Act 1974: Section 1, clause 7.4: The elected Conservators shall be elected by the Commoners, as to four members out of their number and as to the fifth such person whether a commoner or not as they shall select.

    Closing date for nomination forms for those wishing to stand as a Conservator is Friday 14th February 2020.

    First Notice

    Nomination Form

  • Forest visitors should be aware that we plan to move a group of Exmoor ponies into the temporarily fenced compartment to the west of the Vachery drive and behind Trees car park.

    Ground conditions allowing, we are hoping this will happen on Tuesday 4th of February.

    Please be careful with your dogs, the fence is electrified, and the ponies may defend themselves if harassed. Please put your dogs on a lead until you have passed the enclosure.

    Horse riders please take note - the Exmoors are well used to grazing public sites and to riders, but just in case your ride is apt to spook at anything new, please keep to a walk while passing the enclosure.

    Please don’t try and feed the ponies - they don’t need additional food and we need to maintain their wild natures. We don’t want to teach them to approach the public and it’s the best way to avoid any accidents.

    The Exmoor pony is usually referred to as a ‘breed’ but should really be termed a ‘race’ of ponies. Breeds are produced by man, whereas the Exmoor is the product of the high wet moorlands in Devon and the forces of natural selection. They have come down to us as a relic population of an ancient animal, outwardly little changed from the first British wild ponies which arrived here around 130,000 years ago.

    The Exmoor is an endangered Rare Breed, but their hardiness and ability to over-winter natural habitats has given them a new role in Conservation. They are the breed of choice for land managers seeking the natural, sustainable management of increasingly rare and precious habitats such as the heathlands of Ashdown Forest

  • The Ashdown Forest Clumps Sponsored Walk - Saturday 11th April 2020.

    Join us for the revival of the 14 mile iconic Ashdown Forest Clumps Walk to raise funds for the Ashdown Forest Foundation.

    • Summit Call on Future Funding - Uckfield News
      NEWS & NOTICES 2019
    • Photo Competition Winners - September 2019

    Sunset towards Friends Clump  James Speedie

    Sunset looking towards Friends Clump by James Speedie

    Bucks by Tamsin Ricci

    Bucks by Tamsin Ricci

    • Deer Aware Scheme

    East Sussex County Council, Ashdown Forest Rangers, supported by Sussex Police and the Deer Initiative have produced some information with about what to do if you hit a deer on the road. The Deer Aware leaflet and posters are available here to download and share.

    Deer Aware Leaflet

    Deer Aware Poster

    • Beef Box orders now being taken

    Beef box

    • Tree planting on Ashdown Forest

      The term ‘Forest’ causes a great deal of confusion; it was originally a Norman French term meaning an area where it was illegal to hunt the King’s deer and had nothing at all to do with the presence or absence of trees. In fact, if you were the King and you were hunting deer on horseback, trees were probably the last thing you wanted. All the famous Forests of Britain – Sherwood, Ashdown, the New Forest – would have been more open space than woodland and would have been like that for probably 900 years.

      Ashdown, like many of the other Forests, would have been maintained as open heathland by the activities of Commoners; residents of the surrounding villages who had ancient rights to take things from the Common – bracken, gorse, turf, firewood – and to manage it by grazing and burning. Commoners still exist, but few of them now exercise their rights, so it is down to us as the Conservators of Ashdown Forest to carry out the activities that historically maintained the open heath.

      The justification for this management – preventing the Forest from reverting to woodland – is that lowland heathland is rarer than tropical rainforest on a global scale, whereas woodland – at least in the south-east of England – is relatively widespread. Whilst it might be true that some areas are short of trees – the uplands of northern Britain, for instance – the Weald of Sussex and Kent is the most densely wooded part of the British Isles. So, we have not only a moral but a legal obligation to prevent the loss of heathland; it is protected under EU law as one of a list of the rarest habitats in Europe. It is also home to a group of plant and animal species that rely totally on heathland as their home. This includes internationally protected species such as the Nightjar and Dartford warbler.

    • Crowborough Waitrose Community Matters

      The Conservators of Ashdown Forest have been chosen for Waitrose Crowborough's Community Matters scheme in September.

      We are raising funds to develop our educational programme that will offer children the chance to cherish and enjoy our woodland and wildlife. We are looking to introduce activities such as woodcraft activities using simple hand tools, sculpture, arts & craft, and basic bushcraft. This money will help fund a large tarpaulin and equipment for games to promote environmental awareness.

      Please consider supporting Ashdown Forest when you are shopping in Crowborough Waitrose.


    • BBQ Meat Boxes - orders now being taken
    • BBQ Box
    • Wealden District Council advice regarding waste disposal and flytipping

    Lambing season has now started.

    There are sheep lambing in fields in and around the Forest.  They are particularly vulnerable at this time and, with the recent increase in dog attacks, this is a worrying time for farmers and livestock owners.

    If you walk your dogs in the countryside, make sure that they are under control at all times.  If they are let off the lead, make sure they remain in your view at all times and that they will return to you when called. 

    There have been several instances of dogs escaping from gardens and running loose on the Forest and surrounding areas.  Please ensure your garden boundaries are secure and dog-proof.

    Take responsibility for your dogs.  If you are in any doubt of your ability to control or recall your dog, keep it on a lead.

  • The Annual Commoners Meeting is on Friday 1st March. Notice of Annual Meeting. Commoner Conservator Nomination Form

  • In the early hours of Thursday 3rd January, the Forest Centre suffered a malicious break-in. Four vehicles have been extensively damaged and will take up to 14 days to repair.

    The lack of these vehicles means that our Rangers and countryside teams are having to reschedule their work and might have to change their plans at short notice in order to deal with any emergencies that occur during this time.

    We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during the next couple of weeks

News and notices 2018

  • easyfundraising

    Due in part to ever decreasing budgets and grant cuts we are piloting several fundraising schemes asking visitors to contribute voluntarily to support Ashdown Forest.

    Ashdown Forest is a unique and very special place for residents, local communities and visitors - 6,500 acres of protected heathland and woodland, paths, rides and trails, hidden gardens, waterfalls, streams and magnificent views to the North and South Downs.  The most recent Visitor Survey estimated that there were 4541 visits per day to Ashdown Forest with just a small staff team, supported by teams of volunteers, working to 'regulate and manage the forest as an amenity and place of resort and to conserve it as a quiet and natural area of outstanding beauty.’

    Our first initiative is easyfundraising, the UK's biggest charity fundraising site.  It's simple to use, and it's free.  easyfundraising turns your everyday online shopping into donations for your good cause, at no cost to you.  Once you've made a purchase the retailer will then make a small donation to your cause to say “thank you”.

    Join over 1.4 million people raising free donations at over 3500 shops and sites every day the easyfundraising way!

    Please register at https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/

    Registration is easy with your email address or Facebook profile.  Search for the “Conservators of Ashdown Forest”.

    We appreciate all the support so many of you give us whether by volunteering, through donations or supporting events - we now ask you to add easyfundraising to help us further.  Thank you!

  • Road Closure for Remembrance Sunday:

    Remembrance Sunday 11th November - Ashdown Forest Airman's Grave - First World War Centenary.

    Wealden District Council Road Closure Order.

    The Crowborough Road is closed to through traffic between 09:00hrs and 12:00hrs on Sunday 11th November 2018 that includes cyclists and horseboxes.

    Access only for vehicles parking for the Airman’s Grave.

  • Orders now being taken for Ashdown Beef Boxes and Ashdown Hogget Boxes
  • Second dog owner convicted for failing to keep her dog under control on Ashdown Forest
  • Deer Programme Update 2017/18
  • Volunteer Opportunity - Mapping Assistant - an opportunity to help with digitising and archiving official Forest maps
  • Annual Report 2017/18
  • From the High Weald AONB:

Information about the High Weald public consultation: www.highweald.org/public-consultation-2018


News, media stories and notices 2016

QUEEN'S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE 2016 - The Conservators of Ashdown Forest has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award for voluntary service a group can receive in the UK. More information and photos can be viewed here.

  • Wakehurst Place plays host to Ashdown Forest sheep: read more here
  • Black panther spotted in Ashdown Forest: read more here
  • Discover Winnie-the-Pooh Country: read more here
  • Review of governance arrangement for Ashdown Forest: read more here


News, media stories and notices 2015

  • "Dog owners to blame" after sheep mauled to death on Ashdown Forest: read more here
  • Farmer shoots dead black labrador for killing 3 sheep and injuring another: read more here
  • Dog shot by farmer after 4 sheep killed on Ashdown Forest: read more here
  • Fire crews battle Ashdown Forest gorse blaze: read more here
  • Ashdown Forest Centre undergoes £2million improvements project: read more here
  • Big cat sightings in Ashdown Forest may be missing greyhound: read more here


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