Ashdown Forest covers 14,000 acres of lowland heathland which has never been under the plough and so provides a unique habitat for many species of flora and fauna.
There are several hundred deer, mainly Roe and Fallow and including small numbers of Muntjac and Sika, living happily in the woodland areas. Nightjar and Stonechat, Skylark and Meadow Pipit, Dartford Warbler and Woodcock are among the birds which enjoy the gorse and heather habitat. Many rare species of butterfly, moth and dragonfly are also to be seen, as are adders and a small number of grass snakes.
The whole area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (OANB)
Summer is the warmest time and best for walking cycling etc; winter months can be cold and a little damp. It is advisable to take a light coat if the weather looks a bit iffy, just to keep you dry if anything
Car: the A22 to Eastbourne passes right through Ashdown Forest, linking East Grinstead, Uckfield and Nutley to London.
Train 1/2 hourly service from London Victoria to East Grinstead and hourly service from London Bridge to Crowborough and Uckfield. (the line diverges at Oxted); £10.00 return to East Grinstead and £14.00 return to Uckfield.
Bus National Express runs services to East Grinstead, Uckfield and onto Eastbourne
From Kent/Medway Area:
Car: the A26 from Maidstone to Newhaven passes through Tunbrdige Wells, Crowborough and Uckfield, there are other routes
Train services to Tunbrdidge Wells
Bus - numerous routes from Tunbridge Wells
Roads allow full access to all attractions in Ashdown Forest, although it is worth getting a map (AA or RAC for driving) if you are planning to go walking, horse riding or cycling (cycling is not allowed inside Ashdown Forest on paths, since (wealthly) horse riders find tyre tracks might hurt their horses) however is fully allowed on roads; it is worth getting an OS (Ordnance Survey) map; (Royal Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath & Crowborough. Scale 1:25 000 (4 cm to 1 km, 2½ inches to 1 mile)) would be fine, costing usually under £8.00
As for public transport it is fairly limited, buses go from East Grinstead to Uckfield, East Grinstead to Tunbrige wells and beyond. From Uckfield thier are regular buses to Tunbridge Wells, via Crowborough. Uckfield, Crowborough, Tunbridge Wells and East Grinstead all have routes to London (as do smaller stations, ask at the desk) jorneys vary from 1hr 20 to 50 minutes.
The area in and around Ashdown Forest is rich in the diversity of places to visit, from East Grinstead in the north to Uckfield in the south, Crowborough in the east and Haywards Heath in the west, and the whole of Ashdown Forest itself in between. The four towns themselves, although very different in character, each offers a wide range of shopping, cafes, restaurants and pubs, and each has a leisure centre with swimming pool.
Just off the A22 are two of the foremost attractions of the area - the Ashdown Forest Centre, where you can learn everything about the Forest, and the Ashdown Forest Llama Park. The A275, which forks off the A22 just south of Wych Cross, will take you to three more treats – Heaven Farm, with its farm museum, craft shop and tearoom, Sheffield Park Garden (National Trust) and the Bluebell Railway.
To the north, in East Grinstead, with fast links to London and just outside the town, Standen, an Arts and Crafts house by Philip Webb, owned by the National Trust.
On the east side of the area, just off the A26, is Barnsgate Manor vineyard with its tearoom and restaurant, its giftshop selling Barnsgate wines and its magnificent views. A little farther south, off the A272, is Wilderness Wood, a working woodland with fascinating walks, picnic and barbecue areas and a teashop. Along with wood ‘workshops’ in the looking after of the forest. It is open most days
Just beyond the Forest boundary, in the north east of the forest, is Groombridge Place Gardens and the Enchanted Forest. A few miles away, on the outskirts of the village of Hartfield, is Bolebroke Castle.
Pooh Bear One of the Forest's more famous inhabitants, Christopher Milne wrote that "Pooh's Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical". many of the sites described in the stories can be recognised on the Forest although their names have been altered. For example, the Five Hundred Acre Wood became the 100 Aker Wood and Gills Lap became Galleons Leap. The North Pole and the Gloomy Place are in Wrens Warren Valley while the name, Enchanted Place, is applied to a memorial to Milne and Shepard. Hartfield is 'Pooh Central' with walks and other ativities centred around Pooh Bear.
Walking Get a map and go for walk! some beautiful landscapes accessible from all the main roads; at larger car parks there's usually an ice cream van there for the kids (even in mid winter) Walking trails are rarley signposted on the forest, however on the forest way (above) there are some signed paths.
Ashdown Forest Llama Park Lots of llamas, on the A22 between Forest Row and Nutley
Local Churches often very interesting with varied histories; Ashdown Forest Churches could be incorporated into a walk or a drive
Anything required can be purchased in one of the larger towns and petrol stations are sprinkled around.
Hartfield is 'Pooh' Central, from where Pooh bear was set, you can play pooh sticks on the bridge or visit 100 acre wood. there are also numerous shops.
All the towns have at least a Supermarket and many of the villages have a small shop/Post office. If one requires something specific the towns of Tunbrdige Wells and East Grinstead will surifce.
You need not travel far within the Ashdown Forest area to find excellent provision for the hungry, the thirsty and the merely peckish. Everything from the humble pint in a friendly local pub to fine cuisine in a world class restaurant can be found in Ashdown forest. Restaurants are often attached to pubs, with separate areas; food varies in quality and price, but is rarely of poor quality.
Aldeia in Forest Row call 01342 823521
Anchor Inn in Hartfield call 01892 770424
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club near Forest Row call 01342 824988
Barnsgate Manor Vineyard near Uckfield call 01825 713366
Buxted Park Hotel near Buxted call 01825 733333
Chequers Inn Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823333
Ganges Restaurant in Nutley (Indian cuisine) call 01825 713287
Gravetye Manor Hotel near East Grinstead call 01342 810567
The Chequers Inn Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823333
The Dorset Arms in Hartfield call 01892 770278
The Griffin Inn in Fletching call 01825 722890
The White Horse in Cowden call 01342 850640
Tea Rooms are an English tradition; expect high quality food and friendly staff:
Ashdown Forest Llama Park near Forest Row call 01825 712040
Barnsgate Manor Vineyard near Uckfield call 01825 713366
Duddleswell Tea Rooms near Uckfield call 01825 712126
St Ives Tea Gardens in Hartfield call 01892 770589
Wilderness Wood near Uckfield call 01825 830509
If eating out isn't what you want but you still want to get a flavour of the area, visit local farm shops and farmers markets:
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club in Forest Row call 01342 824988 for bookings and information
Buxted Park Hotel in Buxted call 01825 733333 for bookings and information
Chequers Inn Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823333 for bookings and information
Gravetye Manor Hotel in East Grinstead call 01342 810567 for bookings and information
Roebuck Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823811 for bookings and information
The Brambletye Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 824144 for bookings and information
The Chequers Inn Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823333 for bookings and information
The Ravenswood in Sharpthorne call 01342 810216 for bookings and information
There are also numerous Bed and Breakfasts; these provide exactly what they say, the establishments may vary in size from a small hotel to one or two rooms.
Acorn House B&B in Buxted call 01825 733087 for bookings and information
Anchor Inn in Hartfield call 01892 770424 for bookings and information
Arthur Family B&B in Crowborough call 01892 653328 for bookings and information
Ashdown House B&B in Maresfield call 01825 768298 for bookings and information
Bathurst B&B in Crowborough call 01892 665476 for bookings and information
Becketts B & B in Edenbridge call 01342 850514 for bookings and information
Copyhold Hollow Bed & Breakfast in Haywards Heath call 01444 413265 for bookings and information
Courtlands Nurseries B&B in Sharpthorne call 01342 810780 for bookings and information
Gospel Oak B&B in Hartfield call 01342 823840 for bookings and information
Hill Cottage B&B in Crowborough call 01892 662243 for bookings and information
Hodges in Crowborough call 01892 652386 for bookings and information
Holly House in Chelwood Gate call 01825 740484 for bookings and information
Laurel Cottage B&B in Chelwood Gate call 01825 740547 for bookings and information
Marsden Mount B&B in Maresfield call 01825 768255 for bookings and information
New Glenmore B&B in Uckfield call 01825 790783 for bookings and information
Old Mill Farm B&B in High Hurstwood call 01825 732279 for bookings and information
Rose and Crown in Fletching call 01825 722039 for bookings and information
South Paddock Nr Uckfield call 01825 762335 for bookings and information
Tees Barn in Edenbridge call 01732 862893 for bookings and information
The Griffin Inn in Fletching call 01825 722890 for bookings and information
The Orchard B&B in High Hurstwood call 01825 732946 for bookings and information
West Meadows Bed & Breakfast in Nutley call 01825 712434 for bookings and information
Yew House Bed & Breakfast in Crowborough call 01892 610522 for bookings and information
Chequers Inn Hotel in Forest Row call 01342 823333 for bookings
Griffin Inn in Fletching call 01825 722890 for bookings
Hay Waggon in Hartfield call 01892 770252 for bookings
The White Horse in Cowden call 01342 850640 for bookings
Camping is not allowed inside Ashdown Forest, however there is one camping site in the local area:
Waspbourne Manor Farm at Sheffield Park, call 01825 723414 for bookings
Some paths may be muddy in the winter; in the summer there are some snakes (adders are the only poisonous ones, however rarely attack humans, dogs can be killed by Adder Venom)
Often there are deep pools, which can be nice to swim in (from this area's idilic industrial past), but children should always be accompanied, monsters from the deep are rare.
Car parks are generally free of crime, however it is always important as with any car park to ensure that valuables are hidden out of site or taken with you. Please remember if you do not want to take your dog with you (paths can be muddy) to give an area of shade for your animal. dogs die in hot cars
Some paths may lead abruptly onto (often fast) roads; for your children's and pet's safety keep listening out for cars and if in any doubt keep more adventurous animals on a lead.
In the summer months the whole forest is at risk from wildfires, please do not smoke (for your own health and the forest's) and Do not light fires.
Please note, much of this information has been copied from the Ashdown Forest Tourism Site; however I (and Wikitravel and its users) have permission to use this informaiton
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!