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The Ancient Forest of Knaresborough was a royal hunting forest in Yorkshire, England. It covered an area of some 45 square miles (120 km2). The Forest was a particular favourite of Henry II and King John.

The Forest was located west beyond Blubberhouses and south of Knaresborough,
between the River Nidd and the River Wharfe, originally in the West Riding of Yorkshire and now in North Yorkshire.

Many of the 49 boundary stones marking the limits of the Forest are still visible today.

The inhabitants of the Royal Forest were subject to a body of law which forbade hunting of deer and hunting with bows and arrows or hounds, and
provided for fines for cutting down trees. They were in effect tenants of the Crown, but they had security of tenure and could transfer their rights.

Provided that they did not interfere with the king's hunting, which mainly took place in Bilton Park, Hay-a Park and Haverah Park, the Foresters were free to
make their livings in the Forest. Economic activity included farming, milling and other industries such as mining.

The 1770 Act of Enclosure defined the Forest. Some of the Forest remained in the hands of the Duchy, some was allocated to tithe owners, and 200 acres of open land was allocated as a public open space, which today is known as The Stray.

The Enclosure Act meant that many rural workers who had previously farmed land for generations, had their rights and livelihoods taken away.

Many Rural Workers were forced to go into nearby rapidly developing urban conurbations in search of work.Some sought their futures in the new
world of North America, where they were welcomed and given land to farm on.

The Enclosure Acts revolutionized farming practices in the UK. Agriculture became more efficient and made agriculture the servant of the growing towns and cities.

Sadly, by the 17th Century the forest had been stripped of many of its trees. Many beautiful woodland areas still exist in the Knaresborough area. These photos were taken in Birkham Woods in Knaresborough.

Today, the deforestation of England is a major environmental concern and a government backed initiative to plant 50 million trees, in a coast to coast Northern Forest, is being developed to help address the issue.

Historic, ancient forests such as Knaresborough are central to creating interest in the more local Yorkshire White Rose Community Forest project.


from Tim Hunter - The Knaresborough Forest Suite, released April 25, 2020
Tim Hunter: Synthesiser
Music by Tim Hunter Copyright © 2020 Tim Hunter. All rights reserved. This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service: Registration Number: 284731431


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Tim Hunter Knaresborough, UK

'Through his musical albums, Knaresborough composer Tim Hunter helps bring to life the stories and legends of Yorkshire's rich heritage.' Yorkshire Post 1st May 2020.
Tim Hunter is a singer/songwriter/producer. His musical compositions range from pop ballads through to classic rock and have been enjoyed by audiences both in Europe and the United States.
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