Forest boundaries

Another discovery in the late great Oliver Rackham’s Ancient Woods of South-east Wales (edited from his manuscript by Paula Keen with David Morfitt, George Peterken and Simon Leatherdale). It seems that this

which I thought (if I thought about it at all) was just a hedge bank, is actually the boundary bank of Fforest Fawr, one of the medieval forests just north of Cardiff, above Tongwynlais. Here it is as the boundary between the woods and the golf course. You can follow it along – here the trees have spread over it

and here

it is visible again under the trees. Here

it turns to the north and is visible under an outgrown hedge. It’s more worn down but still there when you know what it is, bordering the farmland to the north

and running up to the viewing point


ItI must have stood here literally hundreds of times without realising what it was

it’s a bit eroded at the viewing point but still …

and it continues westward


and eventually turns north and runs down to Ty Rhiw.

Who knew? Well, Oliver Rackham, obviously – but I used to call myself a landscape historian and I had no idea.

There’s lots more to discover from the book as well. Given a few dry days …