Welcome to the unique world of Ashdown Forest,
the jewel at the centre of the High Weald.


Forthcoming Friends’ Events

Please email ashdownfriends@aol.com for more information or to book a place.

Saturday, 27th May 2023  Plant Sale and Pop-Up Café

10.30am – 12.30pm at the Ashdown Forest Centre
Please note there will be no car park charges at either the Forest Centre or Broadstone Car Parks for the duration of the event that morning.

Thursday, 29th June 2023  A Nightjar Walk with the Ashdown Forest Bird Group

9.00pm Goat Car Park. A twilight walk searching for Nightjars.
Uneven ground in this location in places. Stout footwear and torches essential.

Wednesday, 12th July 2023  A Guided Tour of Sackville College Almshouse

2.00pm at Sackville College East Grinstead

Founded in 1609 by Robert Sackville, this Almshouse is a splendid example of Jacobean architecture and is still in use as an Almshouse today. The Victorian Warden and hymnologist, the Rev. John Mason Neale, wrote hymns and carols in the Study, including the words for the carol “Good King Wencelas”.

Numbers are limited to 30 for this tour which will last approximately one hour. A donation of £5 per head is requested on the day which will include refreshments to be provided at the end of the tour. Please email ashdownfriends@aol.com to book a place.

Tuesday, 22nd August 2023  A Talk by Michael Blencowe, “Butterflies of Sussex”

2.00pm in the Education Barn.

Tuesday, 12th September 2023 and Tuesday, 19th September 2023
Visits to Kingstanding Radio Station

6.30pm for 6.45pm start both evenings

We have arranged two visits to this fascinating site to see the remains of the World War II radio station and the nuclear bunker dating from the Cold War. The site is currently used by Sussex Police as a training facility. Numbers will be limited to 12 for each visit. Please email ashdownfriends@aol.com to book a place.

Thursday, 9th November 2023  Fungi Walk with Martin Allison

Start time and venue to be confirmed.

Ashdown Forest News is usually published twice a year in Spring and Autumn by and for The Society of Friends of Ashdown Forest. It is issued free to all members of the Society.

Below are some articles to download.

Ladybird on Ashdown Forest

Recalling some Dialect Words -

Throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries, people were much less mobile than they are today. Farm labourers, for example, frequently lived and died in the house where they were born. Such isolation was one factor contributing to their limited vocabulary.
Common Heath moth on Ashdown Forest

Some Forest Moths

Friends may well know the Forest’s importance as a haven for the Dartford warbler and nightjar, the silver-studded blue butterfly and an array of plants like the acid soil-loving bog asphodel and sundews. But there’s one large group you may have missed - the moths.

News from the forest

Report of birdlife on Ashdown Forest


CLIVE POOLE, Voluntary Ranger  7th April 2021

February 2021 was cold as usual but the weather was not severe enough to kill off our population of resident DARTFORD WARBLERS. They could be heard calling while sheltering in thick gorse, where they hunted for spiders, their crucial winter diet. Occasionally a fleeting glimpse of a tiny dark -coloured long-tailed bird would confirm the presence of a “furze wren “, the old Sussex name for Dartford Warbler. They rely on heather for nesting and gorse for shelter and most of their food supply.

Our second avian relative UK rarity is the WOODLARK and our breeding population arrived back on the Forest in early February from their wintering grounds on the South coast or across the Channel (without needing to comply with lockdown restrictions). This season they have benefited locally from the gorse-management activities of the conservators who have removed some large blocks of very tall old straggly gorse, useless for wildlife. This has left areas of bare ground, gorse litter and scattered seeds. Just the job for WOODLARKS who are opportunistic colonisers after fire damage or major ground disturbance. They, paradoxically, both feed and breed on the ground on open heaths (not inwoods despite their name) searching the bare and battered ground for seeds and insects. They also favour feeding on short grass grazed by rabbits.