Ashdown Forest's landscape is greatly influenced by its underlying geology, which is mostly the sandstone and siltstone of the Ashdown Sands. When these stones combined with a local climate that is generally wetter, cooler and windier than the surrounding area owing to the Forest's elevation, rising from 200 feet (61 m) to over 700 feet (210 m) above sea level, give rise to sandy, largely podzolic soils that are characteristically acid, clay, and nutrient-poor. These poor, infertile soils have favoured the development of heath land, valley mires and damp woodland. These conditions have never favoured cultivation and have been a barrier to agricultural improvement, but they have favoured hunting activities, woodland industries and extractive industries. Climate
Summer is the warmest time and best for walking cycling etc; winter months can be cold and a little damp. It is advisable to take a light coat if the weather looks a bit iffy, just to keep you dry if anything; when the wind blows it can get quite cold on the ridges, however most of the valleys and copses provide enough shelter. Average climate in winter as follows Temperature
Throughout the month of November daytime temperatures will generally reach highs of around 11°C. At night the average minimum temperature drops down to around 4°C.In recent times the highest recorded temperature in November has been 18°C, with the lowest recorded temperature -8°C. Precipitation
The average monthly amount of precipitation has been recorded at around 67 mm. Throughout the month you can expect to see rain or drizzle falling on 20 days of the month. Wind
The average daily wind speed in November has been around about 7 mph. In recent years the maximum sustained wind speed has reached around 32 mph. Vegetation
Heathland is defined by characteristics such as vegetation dominated by plants of the Ericaceae (heathers) family, few trees and sandy acidic soils. Heathland is a "plagio climax" vegetation type. This simply means that it originated through, and is maintained by some human activity. If that activity should increase then the plagio climax vegetation will progress towards a true climax vegetation. In Ashdown Forest there are plants such as heather, dwarf gorses and cross-leaved heath, some areas of scattered trees and scrub, areas of bare ground, gorse, wet heaths, bogs and open water. Heathland supports numerous species the most common being invertebrates such silver-studded blue butterflies, the raft spider (UK’s largest spider) and bog bush crickets. It is also home to the adder (Britain's only poisonous snake) and lizards. Land use
Man has lived and worked in Ashdown Forest for 5,000 years, with Iron working during the Roman Period and Saxon Farming, however the forest took on its role as an area of enjoyment in the 11th century, when it was...