As part of our Countryside Stewardship agreement and Management Plan for Ashdown Forest, we must control the spread and coverage of Bracken.

Bracken is a very successful species which can outgrow and outcompete others.  If the Bracken is not managed, it will cover large areas and reduce the value to wildlife that depends on a mix of heathland vegetation communities.

There are five main problematic native plant species on Ashdown Forest; Gorse, Birch, Pine, Molinia (Purple Moor Grass) and Bracken (in addition to a range of non-native species such as Rhododendron, Gaultheria, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam). Wherever possible, plant species that are detrimental to the fragile ecology of the Forest are handled by mechanical means. Where this has not been practical, the only effective strategy has been chemical treatment.

This summer has been the first time that we have run a Bracken management programme which incorporates volunteers. We aim to identify the most effective and efficient methods to achieve control over Bracken by hand, so we welcome any constructive feedback during or after these events, so that we can consider the best way forward.

We encourage anyone interested, from corporate business partners to other voluntary groups, to make a difference on Ashdown Forest this summer by managing and reducing the encroachment and domination of Bracken into our valuable heathland habitat.

Want to know more?

  • Tools will be provided (gloves available if required).
  • If you have suitable lightweight gardening gloves (recommended to have waterproof palm and fingers), please bring them along.
  • Wear weather appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear (hiking boots with high ankle support recommended).
  • Bring any refreshments you may want through the day.
  • Toilet facilities are available at the visitor centre all day.
  • Café on site in our Information Barn with cake and other snacks available.

Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering!