The responsibility for managing Ashdown Forest lies with an independent body, the Board of Conservators of Ashdown Forest. Originally set up in 1885, the Board has been regulated under a series of Acts of Parliament, the most recent being the Ashdown Forest Act 1974. There, in section 16, it is stated that:

"It shall be the duty of the Conservators at all times as far as possible to regulate and manage the forest as an amenity and place of resort subject to the existing rights of common upon the forest and to protect such rights of common, to protect the forest from encroachments, and to conserve it as a quiet and natural area of outstanding beauty".

Membership of the Board is also laid out in this Act. Eight members are appointed by East Sussex County Council, two are appointed by Wealden District Council, five are elected by local commoners and one (the Chairman of the County Council) represents the owner of the Forest which (since 1988) has been the Ashdown Forest Trust.

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