|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|The Forbidden Forest|
|Location||On the Hogwarts grounds|
|Permanent Residents||Aragog, Bane, Ronan, Firenze|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone|
The Forbidden Forest is a patch of untamed forest that grows on the grounds of Hogwarts School. It is home to many magical creatures, including unicorns and centaurs, and is more or less in the charge of Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds. Hagrid's hut is located on the very edge of the Forest. The Forest has received its name because it is forbidden to all students, except in special circumstances.
We first hear of the Forbidden Forest at the Arrival Feast on Harry's first day at Hogwarts; Professor Dumbledore tells the First Years that the forest on the grounds is off limits, and goes on to say that he feels he must remind some of the older students of that fact as well. As he says this last, he seems to be looking at Fred and George Weasley.
The Forbidden Forest is not as forbidden as the name implies; quite often students are taken to the very edge and even within it as part of their Care of Magical Creatures studies, starting in their third year. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Draco Malfoy serve a detention in the Forest supervised by Hagrid. Presumably, the prohibition is to prevent students from going unaccompanied into the Forest, although that is never explicitly stated.
In order to have Care of Magical Creatures classes, there must be magical creatures; part of the Forbidden Forest's function is to provide a near-by habitat. Because they were studied in Care of Magical Creatures, it is known that Unicorns, Bowtruckles, Hippogriffs, and Thestrals live there; also encountered are Centaurs and Acromantulae. A Werewolf briefly roamed there some twenty years ago, and apparently the rumours of his presence remain.
The Forest is an uncharted and wild place where the unexpected happens. This can be gauged by Ron's unwillingness to go into the Forest in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; he believes there are werewolves in there and additionally, suffering arachnophobia, fears meeting spiders.
The Forest also provides concealment. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mr. Weasley's flying car limps off into the Forest after crashing into the Whomping Willow. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, an arena is constructed for the Tri-Wizard Tournament's first challenge. This arena, which must be large enough for the entire school plus four dragons, is constructed around a corner of the Forbidden Forest so it will not be visible from Hogwarts. Additionally, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid keeps his half-brother Grawp hidden there. Professor Umbridge believes Hermione's outrageous claim that Dumbledore has a secret weapon, and seems to be willing to accept at face value that it is hidden in the Forest. She forces Hermione and Harry to accompany her into the Forest to find it—an act she later regrets. And in the final book, Voldemort and his Death Eaters use the Forest as a place of concealment while planning the next assault on Hogwarts.