Forgewood is an ancient woodland on the 3500 acres Eridge Park Estate. The Estate has been owned by the Abergavenny's since Norman times, as well as their castle in Wales. The estate is made up of one of the largest Deer Parks in the country, woods and grasslands. It is also home to a Saxon Fort at Saxonbury Wood and a number of interesting Victorian follies including the twin towers and the ice caves.
Forgewood Campsite has been developed in partnership with the Estate to offer visitors the chance to experience real camping in an ancient woodland and experience the delights of the many paths around the estate. The objective of the campsite is to ultimately benefit the ancient woodlands in which the owners operate by applying restoration techniques. The woods have been largely unmanaged since the War and require lots of loving attention to recreate the natural habitats that would have existed in the past.
On site expertise is provided should people wish to learn more about nature in the park and the High Weald. Courses in woodland knowledge are planned during the coming season. The site managers are working closely with an ecologist to develop a woodland management strategy; providing opportunities for the study of reptiles, dormice and badgers from which educational sessions can be developed for either visitors or members of the local community.
Greencraft provide bushcraft courses which teach people about the naturtal environment and how to make use of local resources. Specifically they deal with foraging, tracking, cooking, fire making, shelter building and carving.
The needs of visitors and the needs of the environment are continually being balanced. There are recycling facilities and the owners would like to extend these to include composting facilities. Toilets and showers are always the challenge, and with the consent of the planners it is hoped to move towards more natural composting toilets and tree showers in the future. There are number of options for water recycling and as a minimum it is hoped to have rainwater recycling and to recycle all grey water in the future. With the composting units it is planned to construct solar panels to provide the minimal power requirements of the site.
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