Wealden MP Nus Ghani met with Pat Buesnel, the Director of the Ashdown Forest Conservators, who manage and protect the Ashdown Forest.
The Ashdown Forest Conservators consists of a small team of staff, including four rangers who cover each of the chases. In addition to the staff, 150 volunteers give up their time to keep the Forest ticking along, from helping in the shop to litter picking across the heathland.
Pat and Nus discussed the issues facing the Ashdown Forest. One of the major issues facing the Forest is out of control dogs, largely from visitors who don’t abide by the rules aimed at protecting the Forest’s environment. Recent surveys suggest that 90 percent of the 4,500 daily visitors are dog walkers.
The Conservators recently published a code of conduct for dog walkers, which can be found at https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/media/2170/ashdown-forest-code-of-conduct-for-dog-walkers-leaflet.pdf.
The Forest is also home to an Education Barn, which can be rented for meetings, small conferences and private parties. The Conservators run a series of half term events at the barn aimed at engaging with the next generation.
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, said: “The Ashdown Forest is the jewel of the East Sussex countryside, and it is my privilege to represent it in Parliament.
“Looking after the Forest and ensuring we pass on a healthy, clean and vibrant heathland to our children is of critical importance, so I was delighted to meet with the Ashdown Forest Conservators to discuss how best to look after the Forest.
“Thank you to all the staff and wonderful volunteers who do so much to protect our countryside.
“I would urge everyone who visits the Forest, from Wealden or further afield, to make sure to follow the code of conduct, pick up your litter and enjoy the Forest’s charms responsibly.”