The Motor Car & Fire
The new threat was the advent of the combustion engine.
By 1924 the ‘angels’ had destroyed by fire more than a quarter of the entire forest - including the south side of Holmbury Hill, much of Pitch Hill and part of Reynards Hill – all the most popular, and most beautiful, parts of The Hurtwood. How could this havoc be controlled?
Summer of '76
Fire continues to be a hazard and the fire-breaks across Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill were created in the late 1960s early 70s. They proved their worth almost immediately when the 1976 drought wrought havoc across Surrey’s heaths and woodland. The Hurtwood escaped largely unscathed. The very wide rides from Hammonds Pond up to Holmbury Hill were created in the 1920s however, not as fire breaks but as racehorse gallops and the straight track from Blackheath Car Park to Farley Green was known as ‘the gallops’ and in the 1960s was regularly harrowed for the strings of racehorses that used it in the early mornings. More recently the rides were used for Husky rallies.