Christopher Tower Reference Library

The Christopher Tower Reference Library, situated on the upper floor of the New Forest Heritage Centre, houses one of the most comprehensive collections of material about the New Forest which can be accessed by the public in a single location.

This includes the great classical works, together with guide books and sections dedicated to the individual towns and villages. Subject areas include biographies, gypsies and military history.

The collection covering natural history is extensive and includes the observational notes made by the late Eric Ashby from the 1950s to the 1990s.  Many standard works on all aspects of natural history are also within the Library. Woodland and forestry is very well represented and includes a number of limited reports produced by the Forestry Commission. The collection also includes the library of local historian, David Stagg, and the archives of Félicité Hardcastle of Burley, Ted Baker of Ringwood and the Crosthwaite-Eyre family of Bramshaw.

Visiting the Library

The library can be accessed Wednesday to Friday throughout the year by appointment. To arrange a visiting time, please contact the library on 023 8028 6150 or by emailing

📢 On Wednesday 20th December to Tuesday 16th January the Library will be closed to allow for essential works to take place. You are welcome to visit the New Forest Knowledge website or email our Archive team at the address above for more information.

We have drawn up guidelines which should be followed during your visit, to ensure our materials are handled correctly. Please click here to view these guidelines: CT Reference Library User Guidelines

To help us assist you, please advise us of your area of research and, if possible, a list of materials you wish to consult. Letting us know in advance means we can prepare and help you make the most of your time with us.

You can use our online catalogues to identify resources for your research.

Online catalogues

Most of our collections are now online and searchable through the New Forest Knowledge gateway.


Please email or telephone 023 8028 6150.

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