December 8th, 1919 saw the first trees planted by the newly created Forestry Commission right here, in Flashdown Wood, part of the old Eggesford Estate. By 1956 the Commission had planted one million acres of woodland, an occasion commemorated by a granite stone unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s Stone can still be seen in Hilltown Woods picnic area.
All trains must stop at Eggesford Station, as the local landowner made it a condition of releasing the land to build the railway in 1854. "I arrived at Eggesford Station a little after four, and found there Lord Portsmouth's Brougham waiting to take me up to the house, so there was not trouble at all. The scenery here is lovely and the house very handsome." So wrote Thomas Hardy of the area, in 1885.
The forest itself possesses some magnificent Douglas fir, including a veteran on the Eggesford Estate, planted in around 1840. There is also a motte and bailey castle, a scheduled ancient monument that is all that remains of a once imposing Norman fort. The area has an interesting history, and you can find out more on www.enjoyeggesford.co.uk.