Woodlands in England: an appreciation of Hilda Annie Wilcox

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Abstract:

In 1933 two maps reconstructing the woodlands of England were published by Hilda A. Wilcox: one of these, woodland ‘deduced from early literature’, is re‐assessed in this paper. The distribution it shows is compared with a recently constructed map of national woodland, created as part of an English Heritage project, and based on the analysis of the Domesday Book by Sir Clifford Darby and his co‐workers, together with the results of investigations by numerous place‐name scholars. In spite of differences in detail, the two maps are in remarkably close accord. This conclusion is used as the basis for a brief synoptic analysis of the distribution of cleared land and woodland in the centuries preceding 1086, and touching even the Roman period. The recent computer‐based reconstruction, drawing upon published, sound and accepted sources, and supported by the earlier and wholly independent work by scholars such as Rackham and Thirsk, provides a national picture of fundamental importance to the historical geography of the English environment.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-4959.00014

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Durham, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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