A BRIEF HISTORY OF RAINCLIFFE WOODS
Low Road Toll gate c.1920 Nr Green gate car Park
- Raincliffe Woods was once part of the Royal Forest of Pickering, the largest forest in Yorkshire which at the time of William the Conqueror was 16 miles long and 4 miles wide. Raincliffe is the most eastern remnant of this once great forest.
- The name Raincliffe is believed to have derived from the name "Hrafn", who was one of the Scandinavian invaders to this part of Yorkshire.
- The earliest records relating to Raincliffe Woods under it's present name are from 1282.
- Area’s of land known to have been wooded since approximately 1600 are classed as ancient woodland. Raincliffe, despite intensive replanting, still retains area’s of Ancient Oak.
- 1863-1864 Lady Ediths Drive was built through Raincliffe Woods by the then owner the Earl of Londesborough. The private carriageway cut through lower Raincliffe to Forge Valley and was named after his wife Lady Edith Somerset. Toll Gates were installed at either end however pedestrians were allowed free passage at Easter and it became a tradition for locals to walk along Low Road to the Tea Rooms Cottages in Forge Valley. (Now Demolished)
- 1922, following the death of the Earl of Londesborough, Raincliffe Woods was sold at auction to a East Riding timber merchant for £10,500 .
- 1924 A group of local Business men formed the "Trust" and bought Raincliffe Woods to protect & preserve it.
- 1926 Scarborough Council buy Raincliffe from the trust and 20 acres are replanted. No further work was carried out for 27 years.
- 1977 Council enter discussion with Nature Conservancy Council and Forge Valley becomes a Nature Reserve
- 1983 Council produce Conservation & Access policy confirming it’s commitment to Conservation of the area & to the return of the woodland to hardwood.
- 1996 Following local fund raising the Woodland Trust buy the 25 acre Raincliffe Meadow. Thought to have been the site of a medieval Assynt the meadow represented the only area of Raincliffe Woods still in private ownership having been used for many years as grazing for cattle.
- 2000 The first ‘Secret Wood’ event was held in Raincliffe Woods. The ‘Secret Wood’ was held to encourage people back into the woodland following it’s closure due to a national Foot & Mouth outbreak. The free event was to prove so popular that it became a regular event up until May 2011.
- 2012 the Woodland Trust lease out Raincliffe Meadow to the Scarborough Conservation Volunteers who undertake management of the meadow.
- 2012 The Scarborough Woodland Action Group formed.