Part of the wood is ancient woodland, meaning that its been continuously wooded for at least 400 years.
The Tithe Map of 1841 shows the wood to be smaller than it is today but if you look carefully you can still see the evidence of old meadow boundaries today which are now part of the wood.
In 1949 the woodland and associated estate was conveyed by Alfred Wagg to East Grinstead War Memorial Limited, to be the town’s war memorial for those lost in the 1939-45 war. This charitable Company was invested with the aim of providing and maintaining a public park for the general public and in particular for the people of East Grinstead.
In the second half of the 20th century much of the previously managed woodland had unfortunately been neglected, but in 1997, Mid Sussex District Council took on a 40 year lease to manage it. This ensures the woodland remains a safe, attractive environment with a variety of managed wildlife habitats.
Ashplats Conservation Group was set up as a voluntary organisation in 1997 to help restore this woodland to its former glory.
How has the wood changed?
The map above is a section of the Tithe Map from 1841 orientated and overlain onto a modern map of the woods.
Whilst it doesn’t fit exactly (maps 170 years ago weren’t as accurate as today), it shows that some areas which are currently woodland were then Arable fields and if you look carefully in the woods, you can still see the boundary ditches that mark the presence of these fields so many years ago.