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Sherwood Forest is a royal forest in Nottinghamshire, England, famous by its historic association with the legend of Robin Hood.

Sherwood Forest
Birch trees in Sherwood Forest
Map showing the location of Sherwood Forest
Map showing the location of Sherwood Forest
LocationNottinghamshire, England
Coordinates53°12′16.09″N 1°4′21.94″W / 53.2044694°N 1.0727611°W / 53.2044694; -1.0727611Coordinates: 53°12′16.09″N 1°4′21.94″W / 53.2044694°N 1.0727611°W / 53.2044694; -1.0727611

The area has been wooded since the end of the Last Glacial Period (as attested by pollen sampling cores). Today, Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve encompasses 423.2 hectares,[1] 1,045 acres (4.23 km2), surrounding the village of Edwinstowe, the site of Thoresby Hall. It is a remnant of an older, much larger, royal hunting forest, which derived its name from its status as the shire (or sher) wood of Nottinghamshire, which extended into several neighbouring counties (shires), bordered on the west along the River Erewash and the Forest of East Derbyshire. When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, the forest covered perhaps a quarter of Nottinghamshire in woodland and heath subject to the forest laws.


Management and conservationEdit

View of the Forest looking northeast

The Sherwood Forest Trust is a small charity that covers the ancient royal boundary and current national character area of Sherwood Forest.[2] Its aims are based on conservation, heritage and communities, but also include tourism and the economy.

Nottinghamshire County Council and The Forestry Commission manage jointly the ancient remnant of forest north of the village of Edwinstowe, providing walks, trails and a host of other activities.[3]

This central core of ancient Sherwood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),[4] NNR,[5] and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).[6] It is a very important site for ancient oaks, wood pasture, invertebrates and fungi, as well as being linked to the legends of Robin Hood.

During the second world war parts of Sherwood forest were used extensively by the military for ammunition stores, POW camps and training areas[7]. Oil was produced at Eakring.[8] After the war, large ammunition dumps were abandoned in the forest and were not cleared until 1952, with at least 46,000 tons of ammunition in them.[9]

Part of the forest was opened as a country park to the public in 1969 by Nottinghamshire County Council, which manages a small part of the forest under lease from the Thoresby Estate. In 2002, a portion of Sherwood Forest was designated a National Nature Reserve by English Nature. In 2007, Natural England officially incorporated the Budby South Forest, Nottinghamshire's largest area of dry lowland heath, into the Nature Reserve, nearly doubling its size from 220 to 423 hectares (540 to 1,050 acres).[10] In August 2018, the RSPB opened a new visitor centre at the site with a shop and a café, after being granted permission to manage the woods in 2015.[11]

Some portions of the forest retain many very old oaks, especially in the portion known as the Dukeries, south of the town of Worksop, which was so called because it used to contain five ducal residences.

The River Idle, a tributary of the Trent, is formed in Sherwood Forest from the confluence of several minor streams.

A glade in Sherwood at winter time.


Sherwood attracts around 350,000 and 1 million tourists annually, many from other countries.[12]

Each August the nature reserve hosts an annual, week-long Robin Hood Festival. This event recreates a medieval atmosphere and features the major characters from the Robin Hood legend. The week's entertainment includes jousters and strolling players, dressed in medieval attire, in addition to a medieval encampment complete with jesters, musicians, rat-catchers, alchemists and fire eaters.[citation needed]

Throughout the year, visitors are attracted to the Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre, which is situated in the former Coach House and Stables of Edwinstowe Hall in the heart of the Forest.[13] The centre contains art studios and a cafe, and hosts special events, including craft demonstrations and exhibitions.

The famous Major Oak in October 2012

Major OakEdit

Sherwood Forest is home to the famous Major Oak, which, according to local folklore, was Robin Hood's principal hideout. The oak tree is between 800 and 1,000 years old and, since the Victorian era, its massive limbs have been partially supported by an elaborate system of scaffolding. In February 1998, a local company took cuttings from the Major Oak and began cultivating clones of the famous tree with the intention of sending saplings to be planted in major cities around the world.

The Major Oak was featured on the 2005 BBC TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the natural wonders of the Midlands.

Visitor Centre.


Thynghowe, an important Danelaw meeting place where people came to resolve disputes and settle issues, was lost to history until its rediscovery in 2005–06 by local history enthusiasts[14] amidst the old oaks of an area known as the Birklands. Experts believe it may also yield clues as to the boundary of the ancient Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria.

English Heritage had inspected the site, and have confirmed it was known as "Thynghowe" in 1334 and 1609.[15]

Future attractionsEdit

The current location of the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre must be moved due to the classification of the area as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).[citation needed]

SACs are strictly protected sites designated under the Habitats Directive. Article 3 of this European Union directive requires the establishment of a European network of important high-quality conservation sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes I and II of the Directive (as amended). The listed habitat types and species are those considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds). Of the Annex I habitat types, 78 are believed to occur in the UK. Of the Annex II species, 43 are native to, and normally resident in, the UK.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sherwood Forest NNR". Natural England. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Home - The Sherwood Forest Trust Nottinghamshire". The Sherwood Forest Trust Nottinghamshire.
  3. ^ "Sherwood Forest".
  4. ^ "Magic Map Application".
  5. ^ "Nottinghamshire's National Nature Reserve".
  6. ^ "Birklands and Bilhaugh".
  7. ^ "Sherwood Forest in World War II". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  8. ^ Levine, Joshua (2015). The Secret History of the Blitz. London: Simon & Schuster. pp. 117–130. ISBN 978-1-4711-3102-8.
  9. ^ "Ammunition, Sherwood Forest: 21 Mar 1950: House of Commons debates". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Sherwood Forest to double in size". BBC News. 21 March 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  11. ^ "New Sherwood Forest visitor centre opens". BBC News. 27 August 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  12. ^ "New £5m Sherwood Forest centre opens". 27 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre". Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
  14. ^ Richard Moss (25 April 2008). "Amateur Archaeologists Find Ancient 'Thyng' In Sherwood Forest". Culture24. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Thynhowe". english Heritage. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

Further readingEdit

  • Bankes, Richard. Sherwood Forest in 1609: A Crown Survey (Thoroton Society record series)
  • Conduit, Brian. Exploring Sherwood Forest
  • Fletcher, John. Ornament of Sherwood Forest From Ducal Estate to Public Park
  • Gray, Adrian. Sherwood Forest and the Dukeries (Phillimore) 2008
  • Sherwood Forest and the East Midlands Walks (Jarrold Pathfinder Guides)
  • Innes-Smith, Robert. The Dukeries & Sherwood Forest
  • Ottewell, David. Sherwood Forest in Old Photographs (Britain in Old Photographs)

External linksEdit