Monday 25 July 2011

Royal Parks

A medieval forest was a geographic area subject to forest Laws not a large wood.

Within Medieval Sherwood Forest there were however many areas of heathland and woodland.

These woods each had their own name and often served different functions- the wood of Lyndhurst was kept for the upkeep of Nottingham Castle.

Many of the woods were protected with a surrounding woodbank with usually a hedge on top to protect the trees and saplings from browsing livestock.

Woods surrounded by hedges were often refered to as 'hays' from the early English word 'Haga' for hedge.

The wood of Birklands a crown possession (now part of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (SFNNR)) was known as the 'hay of Birkland' in the medieval period.

Its sister wood Bilhaugh (also a medieval crown possession and now also part of the SFNNR) originally meant 'Billa's Hagh'

Alongside hays there were also parks.

By definition a park had a fence or Pale surrounding it, rather than a hedge.

Parks in Sherwood Forest were in the ownership of the King and were used for hunting and for the collection and storage of vast numbers of deer.

A park was an emormous status symbol in Medieval times.

Sherwood Forest had 3 royal parks within its boundaries during the Medieval period.

The Castle park, Bestwood Park, and Clipstone Park.


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