The name comes from the woods next to the lake which were once part of the Ashburnham Estate.
In Roman times, iron ore was extracted from the local area, and with an abundance of timber from the extensive woodlands to fuel the furnaces, production thrived. The valley where the lake is now was originally part of a navigable river system and was used to move iron ore and in later times marl (fertilizer) up until 1600.
The Weald was the main iron ore producer in England until Tudor Times.
The last furnace in Ashburnham closed in 1813