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The Entrance to Andersen's wood
Entrance to Andersen's Wood

Reading Location Tour 1: Andersen's Wood

Decribed as 'the largest unmapped area in the United Kingdom', Andersen's Wood is a six-thousand-acre tract of forest to the south-west of the city. Established by Prince Iffi of the then Kingdom of Ileria in the 8th century, the area has denied all attempts by developers to encroach upon its verdant beauty, and the ancient broad-leaf forest has remained pretty much unchanged for half a millenia.

Home to several bear family units allowed to settle there in the seventies as part of the 'Ursine Suitable Housing' act, it is perhaps most famously remembered as the the home of Mr and Mrs Bruin and their son Junior, who gained a brief amount of fame in 2004 when they were involved -albeit innocently - in the disapperance of Henrietta 'Goldilocks' Hatchett, who was found dead in SommeWorld, which borders the forest.

Stories of forgotten ruins and fantastic beasts living in the forest abound, and it is true that no accurate maps of the area exist. The heavy oak canopy defeats conventional aerial photography, and cartographic expeditions have been known to become hopelessly lost, sometimes for weeks. A quick glance at the Ordnance Survey map of the area reveals only an irregu- lar area of green with the legend: 'here be trees'.

The photo above is of the West entrance, one of only three allowing vehicular access.

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