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The Ashdown Forest and the Ouse Valley
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Ashdown Forest and the Ouse Valley
The Ashdown Forest and the Ouse Valley

We have named this area the Ashdown Forest and the Ouse valley as the villages to the north are dominated by the influence of the Ashdown Forest, and to the south the Ouse valley found near Lewes.

The area is one of heath land and many woods, providing a wide variety of habitats for the many varieties of wildlife, and a great number of footpaths and walks for the visitors. 

Towards the Tunbridge Wells boundary there are a number of sandstone outcrops near Eridge and Groombridge , the most noticable are the High Rocks , which are open to visitors and climbers alike.

The Ashdown Forest is one of the last wild areas within the South of England , and provides many walks for the visitors across sandy landscapes with gorse and wild sheep. The east of the area was one of Iron Manufacture during Medieval Times. The southern villages are more influenced by the sea as many buildings are constructed using flints.

The area is fairly sparsely populated, and seems quite wild if you go off the beaten track, but has some majestic scenery, especially if you go the wilds of the Ashdown Forest near Nutley .

The Ashdown Forest was part of the great forest of Andredsweald until the Norman conquest when the northern edge of the forest defined the northern boundary of the Rape of Pevensey , one of the Norman administrative areas .

The Normans created the Ashdown Forest as an area where Forest law applied this law was designed to protect the venison and the vert i.e. the animals of the hunt and the foliage that they consumed. Forest law also prescribed harsh punishment for anyone who committed any of a range of offences within these areas. Forests were designed as hunting areas for the monarch and aristocracy.

Originally enclosed by a pale (derived from pallisade) which was a ditch with a fence on to to prevent the escape of the deer, this pale was about 24 miles long with 34 gates, some of which are listed below. There were two types of entrance to the forest - a Gate that a cart and horses can go through and a hatch where people can go into the forest.

The Ashdown Forest became part of the Duchy of Lancaster when Edward III granted the hunting park to his son, John of Gaunt in 1372.

Some of the entrances and boundaries to the Forest are :-

1. Plaw Hatch - near Sharpthorne
2. Mudbrook Gate - west of Forest Row
3. Claypits Gate - west of Forest Row
4. Kidbrook Gate - west of Forest Row
5. Priors Hatch - west of Forest Row
6. Kidbrook Gate - west of Forest Row
7. High Gate - south of Forest Row
8. Plaws Gate - east of Forest Row
9. Quabrook Gate - north east of Colemans Hatch
10. Shepherds Gate - north east of Colemans Hatch
11. Colemans Hatch - Colemans Hatch
12. Chuck Hatch - south of Hartfield
13. Beales Gate - south of Hartfield
14. Friars Gate - north of Crowborough
15. Boars Gate - west of Crowborough
16. Heave Gate - west of Crowborough
17. Greenwood Gate - west of Crowborough
18. Pound Gate - south west of Crowborough
19. Barnsgate - south west of Crowborough
20. Oldland Gate - - north east of Maresfield
21. Hendall Gate - north east of Maresfield
22. Tyes Gate - north of Maresfield
23. Lampool Gate - north of Maresfield
24. Upper Horney Gate - north west of Maresfield
25. Courtland Gate - north west of Maresfield
26. Pricketts Hatch - Nutley
27. Stone Gate - north west of Nutley
28. Braberry Hatch - east of Chelwood Gate
29. Chelwood Gate - Chelwood Gate
30. Finches Gate - Chelwood Gate
31. Cowlers Gate - north west of Chelwood Gate
32. Footbridge Gate - north west of Chelwood Gate


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