> History - 1700 to 2000
1717
Latest evidence of iron working on the Forest.

1730
Manor of Duddleswell sold to the second Duke of Dorset.

1793
There was a Great Muster of troops at Camp Hill. Ground disturbance for horse lines and field kitchens is still visible.
The third Duke of Dorset tried to control turfing, litter collection and encroachment. He died in 1799. The Estate was settled on the Duchess for her life.

1807
Duchess Arabella Diana attempted to restrict litter cutting by everyone (Commoner or not) and to make enclosures. This was opposed by Charles Abbott, Speaker of the House of Commons who lived at Kidbrooke. He obtained a favourable ruling from the Solicitor General.

1815
Fourth Duke, George John Frederick, died. The fifth Earl De La Warr (West) had married Lady Elizabeth Sackville who was co-heir to the Duke of Dorset. The title of Duke of Dorset went to Charles Sackville Germaine, who was the last of the line.
The Dowager Duchess Arabella had earlier married Lord Whitworth.

1816
Commoners in Nutley agreed to restrict litter cutting (time and place) but to continue to throw down enclosures erected by the Lord (Lady!).
In the same year the Lord of the Manor erected notices saying that trespass on the Forest by cutting bushes, turf, peat, heath, fern, furze or grass, or mining stone or mineral, would be prosecuted.

1822
William Cobbett, on one of his Rural Rides, visited the Forest and declared it “verily the most villainously ugly spot I ever saw in England”.

1825
Arabella Diana and Lord Whitworth died. Manor passed to Elizabeth De La Warr.
The Forest Clumps were planted as landscape features; many of the trees were destroyed by objectors!
Lady De La Warr’s inheritance includes Ashdown Forest and the Manor of Duddleswell.

1830
The new Lord drew up a plan for better Forest management. He formed a committee of four Commoners, a nominee of the Lord of the Manor and four employed Lookers to enforce regulation. This was financed by a levy on the Commoners of 7d per acre.

1869 & 1870
5th Earl and Elizabeth died. Manor passed to Charles Richard Sackville, 6th Earl.

1873
Charles Richard died; the title came to Reginald Windsor.
No attempt was made to interfere with the Commoners but non-Commoner activity was restricted.

1875
De La Warr and his steward challenged whether or not the Commoners had any rights other than estovers and “herbage by bite of mouth”.

1878
Action brought by the Earl against Commoner Bernard Hale, Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex and East Grinstead Magistrate. The Earl won.
William Augustus Raper, a Hastings solicitor, was responsible for accumulating much of the evidence on behalf of the Commoners.

1881
The appeal failed to establish a right of common for Hale, but did allow that he had a Right by Usage (i.e. a Prescriptive Right).
In an attempt to protect the rights of all the Commoners, the committee prepared a case against the Earl. He capitulated and under the Common Lands Regulation (Ashdown Forest) Provisional Order Confirmation Act of 1885, a Board of Conservators was appointed with powers to regulate the common land usage.

1937
Ashdown Forest Act strengthened the powers of the Conservators to enforce the new byelaws drawn up in 1935, especially in respect of digging up plants and litter cutting. It arranged for grants from local authorities in exchange for representation on the Board.

1949
Ashdown Forest Act. This formalised and regulated the use of the Forest for army training.

1961
Formation of the Society of Friends of Ashdown Forest.

1974
Most recent Ashdown Forest Act.

1988
Purchase of the Forest from Earl De La Warr by East Sussex County Council.

1994
Purchase of sixty-nine acres of woodland at Chelwood Vachery.

1996
Forest designated a Special Protection Area, further conserving the bird life.

1996- 1998
Phased fencing and re-introduction of grazing to 1300 acres on the south/west chases.

2001
Forest designated a Special Area of Conservation to help conserve vulnerable habitats.

2001
Forest entirely closed for six weeks due to Foot and Mouth Disease precautions
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