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Alice Holt Forest, Farnham

4.2
#1 of 7 in Nature in Surrey
Forest National Park
Alice Holt Forest is a royal forest in Hampshire, situated some 4mi south of Farnham, Surrey. Once predominantly an ancient oak forest, it was particularly noted in the 18th and 19th centuries for the timber it supplied for the building of ships for the Royal Navy. It is now planted mainly with conifers. The Forestry Commission took over the management of the forest in 1924, and a research station was set up in 1946 in the Alice Holt Lodge, a former manor house. The forest is now part of the South Downs National Park, which was established on 31 March 2010, and it forms the most northerly gateway to the park.ToponymyThe first part of the name, Alice, is believed to be most likely derived from Ælfsige, Bishop of Winchester in AD 984, whose See (or Diocese) had rights over the forest, and was responsible for the land on behalf of the king. It is suggested that the name then became corrupted, with the name Alfsiholt being found in documents before the Norman Conquest (and later in 1169), followed by Alfieseholt in 1242, Halfyesholt in 1301, Aisholt in 1362/63 and finally Alice Holt in 1373. The second part of the name is derived from the Old English holt, a wood or thicket, usually a managed wood of a single species.Other, less plausible, suggestions have been made that Alice could be a corruption of alor, Old Englisn for alder, or ysel, Old English for ash, referring to the ashes left in the woods by the once numerous Romano-British pottery kilns. It was called Alder Holt Wood on the Ordnance Survey Maps Series 1 map 8 of 1 May 1816
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Reviews
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481 reviews
  • Great day. Spent most of Sunday here. Enjoy the bike hire.Have fun riding round and then go back and see the places to play. We have been here several times now and never get bored of the play ground ...  more »
  • We have visited many times, the interactive Gruffalo spotters trail is great fun, so are the Gruffalo statues, there is bike hire and a bike trail, playground, toilets, go ape, good for dog walking, s...  more »
  • Had an enjoyable cycle ride through Alice Holt forest - hired two mountain bikes (a bit on the expensive side at £14 each for two hours) but enjoyed having the freedom and meant we could cycle on all ...  more »

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