Alice Holt is one of many forests managed by the Forestry Commission throughout the UK. Alice Holt is one of the oldest forests – there has been a forest here since around 5000 BC. At that time most of the trees were oaks and the woodland was much more extensive than it is now.
In the 1st Century BC Iron Age inhabitants began to make pottery at Alice Holt and when the Romans arrived around AD 60 they expanded these potteries into a major industry. All the materials required for a pottery industry were easily available at Alice Holt, including clay, water and fuel for the kilns. In Saxon times some of the forest was cleared for farming and local people grazed their animals in the woods, resulting in a mix of dense and open woodland with open spaces between. In the Middle Ages Alice Holt was a Royal Hunting Forest and strict laws governed it, controlling the rights of local people within the forest.
These days the Forestry Commission manages the forest for leisure purposes as well as trees and it provides ample facilities for visitors including cycle trails, guided walks, special events for children as well as the very popular treetop walk, Go-Ape.