Ashdown West is part of Ashdown Forest and has to comply with the overall policy laid down by Acts of Parliament and the Board of Conservators of Ashdown Forest.
The course was originally laid out on the heathland with nothing more than grass, heather and gorse. The oldest trees on the course are about 80 years of age, and the vast majority less than 40 years of age.
The reasons are the cessation of grazing and the decrease in timber-cutting by commoners. We are actively working alongside the Conservators and Natural England to redress the balance and return the course to its heathland character.
This involves felling large areas of invading birch scrub and surface stripping bracken. As heather seed can survive for more than 40 years in the ground, areas stripped of their bracken and peat layer will produce heather from this seed bank.
A major initiative is currently being promoted by the R&A and is referred to as “sustainable golf.”
What this means is a departure from heavy reliance on pesticides, fertiliser and water; working with Mother Nature as opposed to fighting her.
This means encouraging the fine fescue and bent grasses instead of the heavily watered and fertiliser-reliant annual meadow grass which gives a poor winter surface.