Thanks to Scott Donaldson for sharing this article The law of the forest and the freedom of the streets on openDemocracy. Forests play an important role in the evolution of public space in England. The Magna Carta was followed in 1217 by The Charter of the Forest.
The Forest Charter formalised the right of unbonded men to access and use of the goods of the royal forests (grazing, fuel, food), while implicitly assuming the right to wander freely in the landscape as well as providing a place of refuge for those cast out of the social order.
Forests not only played the role that cities now play, forests also offer a conceptual tool for thinking about the public realm in cities today.