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"Turbulent Foresters": A Landscape Biography of Ashdown Forest

Author/EditorShort, Brian (Royalty Account) (Author)
ISBN: 9781783277070
Pub Date24/05/2022
BindingHardback
Pages486
Dimensions (mm)240(h) * 170(w)
A richly detailed history of Ashdown Forest -- home of Winnie-the-Pooh.
€88.74
excluding shipping
Availability: 2 In Stock
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The seeming tranquility of many rural landscapes can hide a combative history. This biography of one such landscape, Ashdown Forest in the Weald of Sussex, exemplifies the evolving conflicts that have taken place over many centuries. Wealth and poverty, power and exclusion, have all characterised this landscape through the ages. When a thirteenth-century boundary was erected to form a hunting park it was imposed upon a landscape which for centuries had provided sustenance for peasant families, for swine herds, for itinerant groups, all of whom had developed grazing and collecting rights and customary ties with the area. Conflict between manorial lords and commoners, "turbulent foresters", was born, and the evolution of this conflict over succeeding centuries is the recurring motif of this book. We move through the exploitation of iron ore and timber during the Tudor period, learn of the real threats of enclosure, of military occupation, to be followed by a landscape aesthetic bringing wealthy incomers, attracted by scenery easily reachable from London by train. All sides felt that the Forest was theirs by right. Victorian law-suits, twentieth-century protective legislation and a growing environmental consciousness have all left their mark. And the struggle for Ashdown continues amid ongoing development pressures. This book demonstrates that multi-layered conflict has been a characteristic feature of what still miraculously remains the largest area of internationally recognised heath in the South-East.

The seeming tranquility of many rural landscapes can hide a combative history. This biography of one such landscape, Ashdown Forest in the Weald of Sussex, exemplifies the evolving conflicts that have taken place over many centuries. Wealth and poverty, power and exclusion, have all characterised this landscape through the ages. When a thirteenth-century boundary was erected to form a hunting park it was imposed upon a landscape which for centuries had provided sustenance for peasant families, for swine herds, for itinerant groups, all of whom had developed grazing and collecting rights and customary ties with the area. Conflict between manorial lords and commoners, "turbulent foresters", was born, and the evolution of this conflict over succeeding centuries is the recurring motif of this book. We move through the exploitation of iron ore and timber during the Tudor period, learn of the real threats of enclosure, of military occupation, to be followed by a landscape aesthetic bringing wealthy incomers, attracted by scenery easily reachable from London by train. All sides felt that the Forest was theirs by right. Victorian law-suits, twentieth-century protective legislation and a growing environmental consciousness have all left their mark. And the struggle for Ashdown continues amid ongoing development pressures. This book demonstrates that multi-layered conflict has been a characteristic feature of what still miraculously remains the largest area of internationally recognised heath in the South-East.

Brian Short is an emeritus professor of Historical Geography at the University of Sussex. He has a longstanding interest in the rural landscape history and society of South-East England.

List of illustrations Preface Acknowledgements List of abbreviations Editorial conventions 1. Introduction: a forest landscape 2. The Natural Capital of Ashdown 3. Ashdown before the Forest 4. Ashdown emerges and the Landscape fills up, 1086-1485 5. Society and Community on Ashdown Forest, 1500-1800 6. Ashdown's forest economy 7. Threats to Ashdown Forest 8. Victorian Ashdown: a changing setting for an escalating conflict 9. The Ashdown Forest Dispute 10. The early years of formal conservation, 1885-1914 11. Ashdown in War and Peace, 1914-1945 12. Ashdown's historic present from 1945 13. Forest conflicts: a conclusion Glossary Ashdown Forest: select Bibliography Index

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