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Visitor Information – Planning your visit
- By Public Transport: There is a limited bus service to Ashdown Forest (MetroBus Services 291 and 270 and Compass Travel 261 stops at the Visitor Centre). Most of the bus stops are on the edge of the Forest.
- By car: Ashdown Forest is south of Forest Row and west of Crowborough. For details of how to find us go to Contact Us page
- King’s Standing and Broadstone car parks have disabled parking areas leading out onto flatter terrain with some spectacular views. Many of the Forest routes are not suitable for wheelchairs due to the bumpy or steep terrain. However there is a relatively long, flat trail section, along the old World War Two airfield, from Long car park.
- There is a Changing Places toilet facility which caters to those with accessibility needs. Click here for more information.
- More information on Parking page
- You must only park in the designated car parks. Parking on verges or tracks is not permitted.
- Coaches and larger minibuses should park in the larger car parks only. Coaches can park in Broadstone car park for the Forest Centre.
- There are toilets and a Changing Places facility at the Forest Centre. These are open when the Forest Centre/Visitor Centre are open. Click here for more information about our Changing Places facility.
- The Visitor Centre/ Forest Office is on Colemans Hatch Road near Wych Cross. See Contact Us page for more details.
- Ashdown Forest is open every day for people to visit and enjoy. The Visitor Centre is open at throughout the year depending on volunteer availability: 11am-5pm (or dusk if earlier) at weekends and Bank Holidays, 10am-4pm during the week.
- The Forest Office is open Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm excluding bank holidays.
Drinks are available at the Visitor Centre when it is open. There are ice cream vans/refreshment concessions in the busiest car parks. There are several cafes on the Forest. They include the Duddleswell Tea-Rooms (dog-friendly), Coolings Garden Centre at Wych Cross, Pooh Corner in Hartfield, the Ashdown Forest Garden Centre at Duddleswell, and the Ashdown Park Hotel. There are also numerous pubs in the area, many of them dog-friendly.
More information can be found on the Ashdown Forest Tourism Association website www.ashdownforest.com
- Pooh Sticks Bridge is just outside the Forest, near Chuck Hatch. You can reach it by following a bridleway from Pooh car park on Chuck Hatch Lane. (Please note this car park is not managed by the Conservators.)
- What3Words for Pooh Car Park: extensive.fake.stocked
- Cattle and sheep graze on the Forest from spring to autumn. Exmoor Ponies graze all year round. Livestock roam freely in the grazing enclosure – Go to the Grazing page for more details.
- We cannot guarantee that you will see wild animals such as deer, foxes and adders. These are more likely to be spotted in secluded areas at quiet times of the day. Please always respect wild animals and keep your distance.
What can we do on Ashdown Forest?
- Most types of activity on foot are permitted, such as running or walking – Walking page
- Horse riding is allowed but you must buy a permit before doing so – Horse riding page
- Dog walking is allowed but commercial dog walkers must have a licence – Dog page
- Model aircraft can be flown subject to the licence agreed with the BMFA – BMFA licence summary
Some activities are prohibited by the bye-laws to protect the Forest. These include:
- Off-road cycling/motorcycling/quad bike/carriages and other wheeled vehicles
- Camping and overnight stays in car parks
- BBQs/Campfires/cooking stoves
- Erecting tents, gazebos or other structures without permission
- Use of Metal detectors
- Use of drones
- Digging up, damaging or planting flowers, plants, trees or removing stone or fossils, foraging without permission
- Ball games (except on the designated village recreation grounds)
No, foraging is not allowed without permission. This is because Ashdown Forest is protected and designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This means that there are operations that require special consent from Natural England. This includes the destruction, displacement, removal or cutting of plants, trees, decaying wood, moss, lichen, fungus, leaf-mould and turf. We appreciate that many foragers are keen conservationists and are incredibly responsible, but sadly we are seeing a dramatic increase in both small scale and commercial picking, which could impact on the reproductive capability of fungi, particularly rare or threatened species.
- We run a programme of events throughout the year – check our events page for more details.
- Please contact us for further information about scattering ashes and memorials.
FAQs for event organisers
All organised events must have permission, whether they are commercial, for charities or otherwise. Please return a completed event application form at least four weeks before the proposed date of the event.
Please return a completed events form at least four weeks before the proposed date. Refreshments must not be sold from the car parks.
FAQs for Schools, group visits and talks
School groups are welcome. Visit our Education page for further details
FAQs for using the Forest for your business
All commercial dog walkers must have a licence – Dogs page
You must have a licence if you use the Forest as a location or venue for your business . This includes, but is not restricted, to fitness classes, guided walks, bird-watching tours, dog training, commercial photography, filming or any activity which has paying clients or makes a commercial gain from Ashdown Forest (e.g. artists or photographers). The fees will be dependent on the activity.
The Ashdown Forest Act allows refreshments (limited to ice-creams and hot/cold drinks) to be sold in up to 6 car parks. The licences for the refreshment concessions are renewed on a yearly basis.
We are once again looking to invite applications from individual ice cream concessions and mobile refreshment concessions (i.e. tea and coffee vans) for a period of one year, commencing 01 March 2024 and terminating 28 February 2025.
We particularly welcome applications from clean air/solar power and other zero-emissions vehicles with sustainable mobility credentials.
Closing date for applications – 2nd February 2024.
Further details and application forms can be found here.
Working in collaboration with the Sussex Film Office we use FAME Pro to ensure the film permit application process completes quickly and efficiently. FAME Pro allows filmmakers and photographers to manage the entire production process – from permits to locations, cast and crew etc.
FAQs for Commoners and Residents
- Your property might have commoners rights and/or you might have an access track crossing the Forest. Your solicitor should be able to tell you if this is the case.
- Please contact us and let us know when you move in so we can update our records and introduce ourselves to you.
- You will require written permission (temporary licence) for erecting a For Sale board and there is a fee for using Forest land. Temporary Licence Application Form for Notice/Advertising Board
- You should advise your solicitor if you have commoner rights or a trackway/perpetual licence. Any outstanding Commoner Rates or Acknowledgement Rents must be paid.
Contact us to find out if your property has commoner rights. You will receive an annual bill for commoners rate. It is not possible to request commoner rights but you can rescind the rights. This must be done through a solicitor.
If you have to cross Forest land to access your property, you are a resident. You will receive an annual bill for trackway rent/perpetual licence. If you are unsure, please contact us.
Anyone with an access track to their property needs a perpetual licence to allow access at all times, and enable tracks to be maintained. Perpetual licences transfer to new owners once a property changes hands. They also cover permissions for sign boards and water pipes on the Forest. If properties do not require access track rights, separate licences can be issued to a resident for a private water-pipes or sign/notice boards. To learn more about access to property and Perpetual Licences see here.
Householders planning to use a skip or other construction items such as portaloos or scaffolding must make every effort to have them within the boundary of their property. If this is not possible, then a deposit licence will be needed. Householders pay a deposit to use a section of Forest land for a period of three months.
Please complete and return this form to arrange for a licence.
You must have permission to place an advertising sign on the Forest
- You must have grazing rights in order to graze your animals. Please contact us to discuss.