The term “assart” refers to the clearance of woodland to create enclosed private farmland. It results in patterns of irregular enclosures interspersed with woodland. Assarts in Buckinghamshire are found principally in the woodland landscapes of the Chilterns and the former royal hunting forest of Bernwood, west Buckinghamshire. Although other areas that have some evidence for assarting can be found in the north of the county, in the area formerly covered by Whittlewood Forest, while a lesser concentration of assarted fields can be found at Great Horwood in the former Whaddon Chase.


Assarting in the strict meaning of the word is a medieval phenomenon occurring mainly in the 11th and 12th centuries, however clearance of woodland for farmland in this piecemeal manner seems to occur right up to the 18th century in Buckinghamshire.