Ancient and still surviving – The Great Forest of Middlesex


Well, when I say surviving,  I actually mean pockets of a great forest still survive.  It would be a parallel universe where an ancient forest , especially around London, still exists in its original form!  By pockets, I mean fragments now protected by being country parks and nature reserves such as Harrow Weald Common, Scratchwood  in Barnet and Queen’s Wood in Haringey.

Fragment of an ancient forest – the trail through Harrow Weald Common  (©Des Blenkinsopp)

The forest is mentioned in the Domesday Book as parcels of land – valuable land that provided fuel, industries, food and shelter.  Domesday Commissioners gave value to wooded land by the amount of swine it could afford to support during Autumn (pannage woods).  It seems that Middlesex, a rather small county compared to others at the time, had the larger pannage woods and could support approximately 20,000 swineherds!

Middlesex Coat of Arms, incorporating the…

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