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The History of the Forest

The History of the Forest pages tell how the landscape of Rockingham Forest came to be the way it is today. For many centuries this has been a very distinctive part of Northamptonshire and its evolution is a fascinating but complex story of how man has shaped every aspect of our environment. The area contains a wide range of features of great historic value. Some are of national importance, such as the surviving ridge and furrow from medieval open field strips at Sutton Bassett, or the reamins of the castle at Fotheringhay; others are of more local interest, but together they help to give Rockingham Forest its unique character.

Though the general picture has been well known for several decades it is thanks to the Rockingham Forest Project, a programme of research completed in 2003, that the most important details of the story which stretches from the Anglo-Saxon period through to the present can now be written.

The Forest in 1610 from Speed's map
Rockingham Forest as portrayed in John Speed's Atlas of Britain published in 1612