26 – Knockley Woods

The woodland here adjoins the grounds of Whitemead Park, just a short ½ mile walk away in Parkend. Whitemead can be reached by taking the left hand track.

From the early 1800’s, the Forest of Dean was administered from Whitemead by a crown official called the Deputy Surveyor. Prior to that the Forest was administered from St Briavels Castle by a crown official called the Constable of St Briavels Castle.

The Deputy Surveyor oversaw a workforce of crown woodmen that fenced, planted, weeded, thinned and finally harvested plantations of trees. Nowadays much of that work is contracted out and huge machines have replaced the teams of woodmen.

In 1919 the Forestry Commission was formed and the Commission in this area was based at Whitemead. The Forestry Commission left Whitemead for Coleford in 1969. Soon afterwards, the Whitemead site was bought by the Civil Service Motoring Association, now called Boundless, who offer accommodation and leisure facilities.

The Forest of Dean ceased to be a Royal Forest with the passage of the Wild Creatures and Forest Laws act in 1971. However, you will still see the term Royal Forest of Dean here in use here and there.