A Tribute to James Adler

It is with great shock and sorrow that we have learned of the untimely passing of James Adler, Chief Executive Officer of Ashdown Forest.

From the outset James took a keen interest in the work of our group, and would drop in on our meetings from time to time for lively chats. Amongst other things he lent his support to our recent exhibition on the 1980s campaign to save the Forest. We were pleased in turn to do historical research at his suggestion to help inform his thinking.

James was a passionate advocate for the Forest and a dynamic and inspirational leader. We wish to convey our thoughts and condolences to his partner, family and friends. He will be greatly missed.



Ashdown Forest as shown on Saxton's 1575 map of south-east England

We are an independent group of enthusiasts who research the history of Ashdown Forest, an extensive area of heath and woodland situated in the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty in Sussex, and its surrounding communities.
Inset: Ashdown Forest as depicted on Christopher Saxton's 1575 map of south-east England. (Click to enlarge)

Recent Research

Major recent research projects by the Group include:

The Airman's Grave and Wellington Bomber Crash in 1941
The group researched the crash of a Wellington bomber on Ashdown Forest on 31 July 1941 which resulted in the deaths of all six crew members. The site is now marked by a memorial, The Airman's Grave. This project is ongoing. To read more about the background to the project, and our appeal for witness testimonies, please click here.

The Men of Ashdown Forest who Fell in the First World War
To mark the centenary of the First World War the Group undertook a major project to write case studies on all the men who fell in the war and who are commemorated on the war memorials at Forest Row and Hartfield. There are 113 studies in total. You can read all the studies online here. An essay giving an overview of the project can be read here.

How Ashdown Forest was Saved for the Nation
In 1987 the Lord of the Manor decided to put the freehold of the Forest up for sale, raising the prospect of it being sold off piecemeal to private investors. A major local fundraising campaign was organised by the Friends of Ashdown Forest and the Conservators to enable East Sussex County Council to purchase it and keep it whole and intact as a public asset. Our research led to an exhibition at the Forest Centre in 2022-23. Read more about it here.


Numerous articles by members of the group have appeared in Ashdown Forest News (the magazine of the Friends of Ashdown Forest) and other publications. Click here to view a list of publications, all of which are available for download.

About the Group

Click here to read a background note about the Group (PDF).

Joining the Group

We meet about every six weeks, usually on Tuesday mornings, at the Ashdown Forest Centre. We welcome enthusiastic new researchers who would like to get involved in our projects. There is no membership charge. If you are interested and would like more information please email us.

How to contact us

Please contact us by email.


This website was last updated on 03-06-2023.