Restoring the boundary of an ancient forest

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A PIECE of history has been completed with the replacement of an ancient stone.

A series of 49 boundary stones was installed to mark Knaresborough Forest in 1767 - but 20 years ago, stone number 42 went missing.

Now, a new stone has been installed in its place, along Ripley Park wall between Scarah Bridge and High Rails Farm, to complete the boundary.

The ancient stones formed a “perambulation” which was walked every three years by royal command. Officials from Knaresborough Castle, accompanied by an old man and a young boy, walked the boundary to establish what land formed royal hunting forest.

Knaresborough Forest was divided up after the 1770 Enclosure Act and boundary stone 42 disappeared around 20 years ago. It was replaced through the work of Michael Brough, a Harrogate man who is writing a book on Knaresborough Forest and has worked with local groups and individuals to carry out the work.

The three-ton stone was reinstated along the public footpath thanks to support from HACS civil engineers, Mark Smith and landowner Andrew Walmsley. The project was supported by Sir Thomas Ingilby at Ripley Castle, as well as the parish councils at Ripley and Clint.

With the help of William Osborne, Peter Wood and other advisers, Mr Brough’s book will cover the history of the forest from its inception, as well as walks for all abilities, with plans, sketches, paintings and photographs.