The Stray (Harrogate)
The Stray is a long area of public parkland in the centre of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, comprising 200 acres of contiguous open land linking the spa town's curative springs and wells. The contiguous area of land, not all of which is officially designated part of The Stray, forms an approximately U-shaped belt from the Cenotaph on the North West point of the U, down the A61, along a broader southern belt of fields, enclosing the building of Church Square, and up to the North East tip of the U at The Granby. The Stray includes the site of Tewit Well, marked by a dome.
The Stray was officially set aside as a public park in the Duchy of Lancaster Commissioners' great Award of 1778, which followed the 1770 Act of Enclosure. The Award ensured public right of access to the land linking the wells and dedicating a long stretch of land for those taking the cure to walk and exercise in. The Stray is traditionally the site of parades and civic events. For example, at the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 the people of Harrogate roasted an ox for the occasion and drank 500 gallons of beer. During World War II trenches were dug on The Stray in fear that German planes might use the open land as a runway.
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- Paul Chrystal, Simon Crossley Harrogate Through Time 2011 1445628554 "The Stray came about after the punitive 1770 Acts of Enclosure with the Duchy of Lancaster Commissioners' great Award of 1778. This ensured that 200 acres of land linking the wells would remain open, thus protecting public access to the springs and allowing space for people to exercise in – exercise was just as important a factor in the cure as the waters."