Now the minute books of all meetings of the Board of Conservators of Ashdown Forest - from their inception in 1887 - have been transcribed and published online in a searchable format by the Conservators.
As well as highly detailed information about land use on the forest, military activity and specific accounts of the dealings of people living and working in the area, the documents are scattered with enlightening glimpses into history.
For example, it would seem the publication of the Bye Laws in 1887 did not go down well with all concerned; three boards carrying the Bye Laws were smeared with cow dung, two boards painted black, four cut down and one ‘slightly damaged by stones’! And from the war years; December 1917, “…Ranger Kirby has been badly gassed in France, and is now in hospital at Buckingham.” From the 1940’s; “The Canadian Troops when camping on the Forest are very careless with lights and fires.”
This detailed resource will be extremely valuable to anyone interested in, or researching the modern history of Ashdown or similar landscapes whether for academic study or personal history. Perhaps your family name is mentioned?
You can read and download a transcription of the historical minutes at the Ashdown Conservators' website. This project is being run as part of the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.