As reported in the Daily Echo, a dedicated team has formed in an effort to preserve Lyndhurst’s Foxlease Activity Centre. They have forwarded a proposal to acquire the property and ensure its long-term sustainability.

In light of this, we explore eight things you may not know about Foxlease.

1. Land was mentioned in Domesday Book

The land where Foxlease stands was documented as far back as the Domesday Book of 1086, referred to as Cocherlei.

Daily Echo: Girls Guides at Foxlease, Lyndhurst. Cooking.  6 jan 1947.  1744 - REF.  © THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES.  Tel: +4423 8042 4479.

2. Likely started as a forester’s lodge

The house itself likely originated as a forester's lodge in the 16th century, built with a timber frame. Parts of this original structure are believed to be incorporated into the present house.

Daily Echo: Princess Margaret at Foxlease - girlguides centre. 11th June 1969. THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES - HAMPSHIRE HERITAGE SUPPLEMENT. Ref - 2370e

3. Was named Foxlease in mid-18th century

By the mid-18th century, Sir Phillip Jennings Clerke owned the estate, which he renamed Foxlease.

Daily Echo: Rangers at Foxlease. 17th July 1948. ? THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES.  Ref  3757

4. The House was extended

Sir Phillip significantly expanded the house in the Gothic architectural style. He's also credited with creating the landscape park and the lake that graces the property today.

Daily Echo: Girls Guides at Foxlease. 21 July 1950  - REF 7777 © THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES.  Tel: +4423 8042 4479.

5. It changed hands many times

Over the next century, Foxlease changed hands a few times, with ownership transitioning from the Clerkes to the Powells and then to Mr WG Stevenson.

The early 20th century marked a turning point for Foxlease. In 1912, Mrs. Anne Saunderson, a strong social advocate and supporter of the suffragette movement, purchased the estate.

Daily Echo: In 1980 five out of seventeen Girl Guides to represent Dorset at an international camp at Foxlease in Lyndhurst came from Broadstone. Four of the guides going to the camp study  the map with their leader, Valerie Legg, centre. They are Deborah Hollard,

6. The guiding era began in the early 20th century

After Mrs Saunderson's ownership, Foxlease was sold again in 1922. This time, it was acquired by Girlguiding UK, and its journey as a training and activity centre for Girlguiding began.

Since 1922, Foxlease has played a pivotal role in Girlguiding.

Daily Echo:

7. The estate has hosted many big events

The Third International Conference was held concurrently with the first World Camp for Girl Guides in 1924.

It also played host to the Sixth World Conference in 1930.

Daily Echo: Foxlease.

8. There were royal visits to Foxlease

Princess Mary, the great aunt of the current king, made her first visit to Foxlease on July 23, 1923, for the official opening. She later donated £4,000 to Foxlease; the proceeds of an exhibition of her wedding presents.

Princess Margaret was presented with a bouquet of blooms when she met with the Girl Guides on July 22, 1989.

The princess was in the New Forest near Lyndhurst to pay a visit to the Girl Guide Association training centre.

More than 400 Guides, Rangers, Brownies and guide leaders were there to see her open the Coach House, a hostel which had been newly renovated.

Daily Echo: Countess of Wessex visit to Foxlease in Lyndhurst.

Margaret had also visited Foxlease 20 years earlier in 1969.

Sophie the Countess of Wessex recounted fond memories of being in the Brownies when she unveiled a £560,000 building at Foxlease in 2005.

She performed the official honours at the opening of The Princess Margaret Lodge at Foxlease Guide Activity Centre in Lyndhurst.

In her role as the Girlguiding UK President, the Countess was the natural choice to lead the ceremony attended by scores of excited Guides, Brownies and Rainbows.

And these are just a few of the many royal visits through the years.