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Alice Holt and Woolmer are the only extensive woods that remain of this in Hampshire (though they are not primary woodland) and fractions remain in Ropley in Old Down Wood, Dogford Wood, Charlwood, Winchester Wood and Stoney Brow.The earliest evidence of human existence is from the later Bronze Age (about 1000 BC).

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In Domesday Book times Ropley was part of the “Hundred of Bishops Sutton” (or “Ashley”), owned by the Bishop of Winchester from 1136 and remained part of the jurisdiction of Bishop’s Sutton until it became a separate parish in 1882.

Throughout these centuries it must have been largely self supporting, with transport mostly by foot, by horse or horse drawn carriage for those who could afford it.

There are only a few left in Ropley, but there are many still in the lanes around Four Marks.

These bungalows, originally built on one to three acre plots of land intended to provide a living for the soldiers, have largely been converted into “executive” housing which has grown up over the last 20-30 years.

“Dean” in Anglo-Saxon means an open glade bordering woodland, and the local names of Bramdean, Bordean, Brockwood Dean and Ramsdean trace the original borders of the Andredsweald forest.

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