Hadrian Cook's new account of the New Forest in southern England provides an historical narrative of the occupation and use of a vast area that was, for centuries, important as a Royal Hunting Forest and subject to many contentious laws and regulations, but which includes much economically marginal land.
Four critical themes are explored through time: the shaping of the natural environment into human prehistory; human intervention through natural resource management; governance and management of the forest over time, stressing pressures on resources and attempts at exclusion of certain social groups; and policies and designations to conserve the New Forest.
Cook aims to reflect a complicated narrative around the evolution caused by changing management and economic objectives reflecting governance arrangements at different times. Once the domain of kings, the New Forest is today, in effect, open-access, largely state-owned land, famous for its pretty villages, mosaic of moorland and woodland, roaming horses and cattle, diverse wildlife and miles of open countryside. But this tranquillity belies a complex and contested history.
List of figures, maps and photographs
Glossary of historic terms
Chapter 1 A new book on the New Forest
Chapter 2 Under the Greenwood Tree
Chapter 3 A Hungry Land (10,000 BC–AD 1066)
Chapter 4 The Medieval Forest (1066–1500)
Chapter 5 Forest governance in Medieval times
Chapter 6 The increase and preservation of timber (1500–1700)
Chapter 7 Decline of the Old Ways (1660–1900)
Chapter 8 A Search for the Workable (1900–1980)
Chapter 9 The Rise of the National Park (1980–present)
Hadrian Cook teaches and writes on environmental science, environmental policy and landscape history. He was educated in the universities of Sheffield, London and East Anglia and taught in schools before taking up a teaching appointment at Wye College and Imperial College within the University of London. He presently teaches at Kingston University and in adult education.