The  Metes and Bounds of Knaresborough Forest

KF 1767 Logo

The origin of this work is a project carried out between 2005 and 2015 by Mark Haley and Jim Brophy. During the research reference was made to the Commissioners' Report and the map of the 1767 perambulation of the boundary of Knaresborough Forest and a number of other sources. The 19th century book by William Grainge "The History and Topography of Harrogate and the Forest of Knaresborough" (1871) was an early prompt for the study.


The full extent of the boundary was explored by car and on foot where public access is permitted. Many sections of the forest boundary can be identified with full confidence but there are still uncertainties about some details so discussion and debate are likely to continue.


There is widespread interest in the history of Knaresborough Forest and work is continuing by a number of individuals and organisations including Iron-Age (Nidderdale) community archaeology group whose fieldwork overlaps the north western part of the boundary of Knaresborough Forest.


There are many myths about Knaresborough Forest including the notion of powerful and cruel overlords but there is also a great deal of evidence of frequent and persistent denials of the boundary by local manorial lords, church authorities and others. Some of these disputes led to litigation and violence and some were never resolved during the existence of the forest. The end of forest was already in sight in 1767 although its name and a large part of its original area continued as an administrative unit of local government into the 19th century.

Exploring the Boundary of the Historic Royal Forest of Knaresborough


The southern boundary of Knaresborough Forest -

River Wharfe at Castley