Conservators acquire additional land near Forest Centre

The Conservators of Ashdown Forest have announced that, with a generous grant from the Friends of Ashdown Forest, they have acquired nearly 13 acres of woodland adjacent to the Forest Centre.

Photo of the new land taken by Hilary Randall

In the past year the Friends of Ashdown Forest have donated £130,000.  The money has been used to purchase the land and it will also be used to update 3 of the 47 car parks on the Forest.

The Chairman of the Board, Richard Stogdon, said:

For many years we have been negotiating the purchase of this land to ‘bring back’ into the Forest, it will be a wonderful addition, particularly for use by our Education Programme.  The generosity from the Friends is greatly appreciated as is the ongoing support they give us.

Director, Pat Buesnel, added:

This is such exciting news!  The land will be perfect for our work with schools, our toddler groups and many other activities and events we have and will eventually provide some lovely walks and trails.  Additional interest will be provided by the Pillow Mounds discovered during the archaeology survey for which we hope to provide some interpretation material.

The woodland has been neglected for quite some time, so a fair bit of clearance work needs to be done over the next year, but with the help of volunteers we have already made a good start.  A ‘big thank you’ from the staff team to the Friends for making this purchase possible.

In the days when rabbits were first introduced to the British Isles, they weren’t hardy enough to survive the weather, so they were kept in artificial soil banks in areas known as warrens.  The surviving banks are now know as Pillow Mounds.

The Friends are hosting a Tea Party (with lots of cake!) to celebrate the purchase of the land on Thursday 10th May from 2 to 4.30pm at the Ashdown Forest Centre on the Wych Cross road.  Members of the public are welcome to come along and find out more about the Forest and the Friends, although as places are limited, please reserve yours by contacting Pat Arnold on 01892 611414 or emailing ashdownfriends@aol.com.

Becoming a Friend of Ashdown Forest brings the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping with vital work to protect the Forest for future generations.  Not only do the Friends finance the purchase of parcels of land which have been added back into the Forest, but they also help fund a schools Education Programme and other projects aimed at raising awareness of this unique area.  The Friends also run a programme of specialist walks, meetings and talks to encourage conservation and the peaceful enjoyment of the Forest and publish their own magazine for members, Ashdown Forest News.

See the Friends’ website www.friendsofashdownforest.co.uk for more details.

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