The forgotten English forest that changed the face of the British countryside


Many of Britain’s beloved forests did not exist 100 years ago. After the Industrial Revolution and the First World War, the nation’s woodlands were severely depleted. But after the introduction of the Forestry Act 1919, Lord Clinton, a commissioner of the newly appointed Forestry Commission, planted its very first trees in Flashdown Woods on his Eggesford Estate on December 8 1919. 

A century later and while Eggesford is still a working forest, providing a renewable source of timber, it is largely the domain of ramblers and dog walkers. It’s a quiet place, which means, rarely for a centenary, there won’t be a carnival welcome to celebrate today, unless you count the sepia-toned ticker tape parade…

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