Introduction to Ashdown Forest
A general introduction to the Forest and its special qualities.
A history of Ashdown Forest
The history of Ashdown Forest and the people who have lived and worked there.
The management of Ashdown Forest
Find out how the balance between conservation and amenity values of this internationally important area of heathland is managed day to day.
Ashdown Forest archaeology
Ashdown Forest has a long history and is rich in archaeological sites
Introduction: At 2,500ha, Ashdown Forest is the largest area of open access land in the south-east. Its breezy, treeless heights consist of internationally-designated heathland, and the landscape has considerable evidence of human management over thousands of years. Often viewed as the Jewel in the Crown of the High Weald.
Location: An area of East Sussex around Crowborough and Groombridge
What can I do? You can walk and picnic freely on all of the publicly accessible land on the Forest. Please just remember to take your rubbish home with you. You can follow one of many self-guided walks around the rides and tracks of the Forest - including three that specifically explore the Forest's fascinating archaeological history. Easy to follow walks leaflets are available from the Ashdown Forest Centre, or can be downloaded below. The map below the downloads shows where each walk starts from. You can horse ride with a permit, available from the Forest Centre, but unfortunately cycling on the Forest itself is not permitted.
What can I see? A patchwork of heather, gorse, bracken, trees and open ground - which changes colour with the seasons. Spectacular views to the North and South Downs and the small fields and rolling hills of the High Weald. Sheep and cattle grazing: they play a vital role in maintaining the precious heathand landscape. Evidence of how people used the Forest in the past, such as medieval rabbit warrens and abandoned sandstone quarries. Distinctive clumps of pine trees, planted by the former owner of the Forest, Countess De La Warr, in the 19th century. Red iron stained streams - showing the presence of iron, which was extracted in both Roman and Tudor times. Places made familiar by A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books.
What can I hear? Skylarks singing in the sky, high above you. Stonechats, recognised by their distinctive call which sounds like two pebbles being knocked together. Chainsaws clearing trees in winter and tractors mowing bracken in summer: this stops them shading rare plants and keeps the heathand healthy.
Information available: A series of self guided walks:
pdf Walk 1 Pooh Walks from Gills Lap (3.97 MB) (3.98 MB)
pdf Walk 2 Southern Slopes & Airmans Grave (4.09 MB) (3.52 MB)
pdf Walk 3 Chelwood Vachery walk (3.54 MB) (3.54 MB)
pdf Walk 4 Tabell Ghyll walk (3.03 MB) (3.03 MB)
pdf Walk 5 Old Airstrip walk (2.57 MB) (2.57 MB)
pdf Walk 6 Broadstone amble (4.47 MB) (4.47 MB)
pdf Walk 7 The Eastern Clumps walk (1.98 MB) (1.98 MB)
pdf Walk 8 A Walk Amongst Friends (1.16 MB) (1.14 MB)
pdf Walk 9 The Hindleap walk (1.27 MB) (1.26 MB)
pdf Walk 10 A walk beyond the Pale (1.32 MB) (1.31 MB)
A series of self guided archaeological walks and an introduction leaflet:
pdf Walk 11 Chelwood Gate History (1.13 MB) (1.12 MB)
pdf Walk 12 Tabell Ghyll History (1.36 MB) (1.35 MB)
pdf Walk 13 The military history on the Forest (1.12 MB) (1.11 MB)
pdf The Archaeology of Ashdown Forest (995.3 kB) (995 KB)
Grid Reference: TQ431323 (OS Map)
OS Map: 135 (Explorer, 1:25,000)
Opening times: All year
Dogs allowed: Yes
Terrain: unsurfaced paths and rough tracks, which can be muddy in wet weather.
Nearest train station: Both East Grinstead to the north and Jarvis Brook to the south have mainline stations. Check Ashdown Forest Explorer for links from stations to bus routes across Ashdown Forest.
Nearest NCN route: Route 21 travels from East Grinstead to Groombridge near to the northern edge of Ashdown Forest.
Where can I park? You can use any of the 50 free car parks, spread across the Forest. These can get very busy during the summer, but please don't be tempted to park on the Forest itself.
Where can I get further information? You can visit the Ashdown Forest Centre at Wych Cross: to pick up maps and walks' leaflets and explore an interpretive exhibition about the Forest. You can find more information by visiting www.ashdownforest.org. A fascinating and informative short-film exploring the archaeological evidence for longstanding human use of the Forest; from the Bronze Age (over 5,000 years ago) to the military activity of the Second World War. View the film here. Download an app for your i-phone 'Welcome to Ashdown Forest'. Join the Friends of Ashdown Forest