Dating oak forest

As for routes through the forest, it was always a pretty impenetrable place and often very muddy. We know that the Severn and Wye were used by Roman vessels and there is some archaeological evidence that there were trading routes even earlier, in prehistoric times.

There was also a Roman road running between Ariconium (near Ross-on-Wye) to the Severn, near Lydney.

However the navy's demands and the production of charcoal meant that the forest was much degraded.

It was the subject of a Re-Afforestation Act in 1667, probably the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

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It seems likely also that fewer paths were blocked or closed by landowners, as there was limited enclosure for farming and fewer large estates.

The accent is also noticeably broader than in the surrounding areas.

Driving into the Forest of Dean, one is struck immediately by the sheer mass of trees in every direction: deciduous and coniferous, coppices and saplings, ancient woods and new plantations.

So since medieval times the Forest of Dean has been a worked landscape, rich in natural resources – trees and game above the ground, iron ore and coal beneath.

The area is littered with old mines and tramroads (the forerunners of railways) designed to transport the mined materials from the steep valleys to the ports on the Severn.


  1. A 500-year-old oak tree outside the town of Eutin, Germany, has been matching singles for more than a century and is reportedly responsible for 100-plus marriages.

  2. Shifting sands after Storm Emma reveal amazing forest hidden beneath the sea dating back 7,000 years. The woodland in Redcar, Cleveland, dates back 7,000 years and is.

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