About Alice Holt Forest

Alice Holt Forest is one of many forests which is managed by the Forestry Commission.

A bit about Alice Holt Forest

Alice Holt Forest is a royal forest in Hampshire, situated some 4 miles (6.4 km) 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. 

Gentleman on bike at Alice Holt Forest

The Shipwrights Way is a 50 mile long distance route which links villages and towns in east Hampshire. The name reflects the use of oak grown at Alice Holt Forest for Tudor shipbuilding. 

Starting from Alice Holt Forest, the route passes through Bordon, Liphook, Liss, Petersfield, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Staunton Country Park, Havant, Hayling Island. It continues to Portsmouth via the ferry, finishing at the Historic Dockyard. 

As much as possible, the route is off-road, using rights of way and permissive paths. 

Picture of Alice Holt Forest

History about Alice Holt Forest

In Roman times, Alice Holt Forest lay at the heart of a thriving pottery industry, providing clay, water and fuel wood for the numerous kilns built within the existing site of archaeological interest. Throughout history, Alice Holt has remained a working forest, producing timber for ship building, furniture-making, building and wood for fuel. Nowadays, Alice Holt Forest comprises 850 hectares (2,100 acres) of open access woodland with over 12.5 km (8 miles) of waymarked trails. It remains a diverse and ancient forested landscape that forms part of the UK Environmental Change Network, which is managed by Forest Research, a world leader in the research of climate change and sustainable forestry. 

More information about the history available on the Forestry Commission site here: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7b5ksu 

(If the link is broken please try navigating to Alice Holt’s main site https://www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholt to find further information.) 

For links to where to stay when visiting please see the Visit Hampshire tourism site.