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.

Opening Hours

The library opening hours are

Wednesdays 10.00am – 4.00pm

Fridays 10.00am – 12.30pm

Outside of these times the library can be accessed by appointment with seven days’ notice. 

If you are visiting during the Library’s regular opening hours it is not essential to make an appointment.

It may be more efficient if you let us know the subject you are researching and, if possible, provide us with a list of materials you wish to consult by completing an Item Request Form preferably a week in advance.

We can then prepare for your visit and help make the best of your time while you are here. You can use our online catalogues to identify resources for your research.


Please email or telephone 023 8028 6150.


The Library is staffed by a team of experienced volunteers. To help us assist you, we suggest you contact us in advance to indicate your area of research and when you intend to visit. Letting us know in advance means we can prepare and help you make the most of your time with us.

Online catalogues

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

The archive and ephemera are currently being catalogued and will be available online soon.

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