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History

History.

Once part of the Seacox Heath Estate, this woodland is part of what is known locally as Ringden Wood. This gives us strong clues about the history and previous uses of the site and its surrounding areas. Place names ending with the suffix “den”, which are common in this part of England, are thought to have been settlements that started life as clearings within woodland - probably used for pig enclosures leading to the building of farm buildings and eventually developing into hamlets, villages, and even towns. 


From historical maps and surveys, we can see that the site has had a wide range of uses, including timber production, stone and sand quarrying, orchards and livestock grazing. It has also long served as a trail for walkers, horses, and vehicles, many passing-through on their way to and from the local coastal towns. 


Much of the site is described as “Ancient Woodland”, but there have been many changes over the past few decades and the vegetation, although largely semi-natural and native to the High Weald, is dominated by relatively few species. Much of it is relatively young, natural regeneration.  A few remnants of historic veteran trees remain, largely along the old ride on the southern boundary of the site linking the Lodge, on the A21, and Seacox House.


Many fascinating stories and legends of local and national importance are associated with the Flimwell and Hawkhurst area. For example, the notorious Hawkhurst Gang - named after the village where they were founded and where many of its members lived. Throughout the 1730-40s the Gang ran a violent smuggling operation that extended across the south coast as far west as Cornwall. Their activities were finally brought to a dramatic end with the capture, trial, and execution of its ringleaders in 1748-49.