Spring Eexhibition Poster

Just over 30 years ago Ashdown Forest came within a whisker of being sold off piecemeal to private investors, with potentially fateful consequences for the preservation of its cherished landscape and for public access.

In 1987 the 10th Earl De La Warr decided to sell Ashdown Forest. He offered first refusal to East Sussex County Council, but the council could only afford a fraction of the asking price. An urgent public fund-raising campaign was mounted to save the Forest for the nation, a campaign that attracted the support of celebrities like Christopher Robin Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame) and film star Dirk Bogarde. We have uncovered the stories of some of the donors, who ranged from a four-year old boy to some of the best-known in the land, from members of the nobility to ancient institutions. We've also researched other threats to the Forest at that time — oil exploration and the 'Hurricane'.

If you'd like to see the list of donors to the campaign, please click here.