Green Shadows has an outskirt village of Hurstbourne, this resides half a mile from the woodland and on many occasions have people tried to use the forest of Green Shadows as an opportunity for expanding the village out, but all attempts have failed.
Settlement in the area didn’t happen until the year 800. Hurstbourne was primarily an agriculture plot of land, the forest was originally 140,000 acres and much of the edges of the forest were cut away to help with housing. Years passed and the village grew, and farming took place in the surrounding fields. This remained up till the 1600s when changes where attempted within the forest of Green Shadows.
The land was bought by nobleman Richard Headingly and wanted to strip back the forest to expand the farming at the time. The project he had set out to accomplished failed the first night, workers became site and Headingly who lived on-site to overlook the development was taken in with pneumonia despite being healthy prior to the events.
At this time the Green Shadows Forest started to develop its reputation of being cursed. Rumours are said to have been stirred up by locals that didn’t want to expand the farming and put people off from future developments. A century passed and the tales of the white lady surfaced which led to the area being untouched until 1886.
Gambling with Nature
In 1886, Louis Archambeau, a French Comte wanted to build a town in the area that would link the village Hurstbourne to the northern area of Newberry and into Scotland. The plans were to place a town on the other side of Green Shadows, this would include a new hotel, casino and shops. Louis Archambeau was all too aware of the rumours that surrounded the area, so the roads would go around the Green Shadows Forest and the town to be built on the opposite side.
First, the construction of the road began in 1886, this posed no problems. Construction of the town beyond Green Shadows Forest posed problems. For many residents in that area, they had never seen the other side of the woodland, many refused to work out of fear and concerned something would happen. The Beau Casino was first to be erected, this was a two-storey property with all your typical casino games and tables inside. The casino was the first to be built in the north of England and would pose as an opportunity for those in the lower borders of Scotland to visit also. The Beau Casino was then to be neighboured by the Royal Hotel but just as soon as the project of development got underway, the project ceased. The casino burnt down after only standing for 10 days. Louis Archambeau accused the villagers that they did this to cease development and with this was unable to complete the projects on the town. In 1952, the Green Shadows Forest grew and engulfed the remains of the Beau Casino.
Many, many people have since blamed the locals for creating a myth surrounding Green Shadows Forest. The casino and town would have certainly brought wealth to the area, it would have created jobs for the villagers, but it would seem, if true, that they simply didn’t want to gamble with nature and the Green Shadows Forest.