Much of the Blean, extending in an arc from east to west of Canterbury, was owned by the Archbishop, Christ Church and other clerical houses, and is described well in a book The Blean, The Woodlands of a Cathedral City. It argues that, contrary to popular opinion, most of the countryside structure that we see today was already in place before the Romans arrived. Earlier settlers had cleared most of the areas that are now farmed, and had discarded unproductive land where now the woods and forests grow, and where slow-growing plants like Butcher's Broom confirm their age.
The Blean lies on poor soil which not only does not support arable crops, but also grows relatively poor trees, better for the underwood for fuel than standard trees for building, as they rarely grow straight and true.
The remains of ditches and hedges that were set up to mark ownership and rental, and to keep deer out, are still to be seen in places - below is a grown-out laid hedge in The Blean....
.... and at Lyminge the Forestry Commission's conifers are edged by coppiced beeches.
So who owns the woods and forests? In England, 80% is owned privately or by charities (including the Woodland Trust, RSPB etc), some better managed than others, and with varying degrees of access. The remaining 20% is owned by the Forestry Commission which was set up in 1919 with a wide brief to manage the land - and to increase timber production at minimum cost to the taxpayer which led to the damaging policy of increasing the amount of non-native conifer plantations that are now environmental deserts. Consequently Lyminge Forest looks more "foresty" with high densities of softwoods, while the Blean retains its English woodland image with mostly broad-leaved trees.
Now that biodiversity is higher on the list of the Commission's priorities, the price of timber and other wood products has fallen so that the cost to the taxpayer is £64m per year, according to the latest accounts. This is presumably due for the chop, to be axed, to be cut down (chose your own headline-grabbing metaphor) and large parts are for sale.
Last October, a press officer for the Forestry Commission vehemently denied Lyminge Forest would be sold. She said: "It isn't under consideration for sale - it's not true at all."
That's OK then. We won't need to call Swampy back to defend it again.