Pocket Britain
Britain > East Midlands > Sherwood Forest

The home of legendary Robin Hood and his band of merry men

Sherwood Forest once stretched all the way from Nottingham to York. In the 11th century, William the Conqueror named it as his royal hunting ground. He filled it with deer, and other animals, so he'd have plenty of things to track down in his leisure time. It continued to be popular with the monarchy for years to come, before the laws were relaxed in 1649.
The forest has shrunk since that time; it now takes up just 423 square kilometres in Nottinghamshire.
Of course, the wood's most famous character wasn't a king or queen. It was someone quite different, who lived on entirely the other side of the law. His name was Robin Hood, and whenever a rich merchant travelled through Sherwood, he would be there to take their money, and give it to the poor. The Sheriff of Nottingham tried to apprehend him, but Robin and his band of Merry Men would slip away into the leaves, and melt into the forest.

Robin Hood
Picture in the Public Domain
Every summer, the legend of Robin Hood is remembered, with a week-long festival in August. There are displays of sword-fighting, archery and jousting, as well as dozens of other performances from dancers, jesters, and medieval craftsmen, all in authentic costumes.
Much of the festivities are based around the Major Oak, which is an important part of the legend. This huge tree, which is much bigger than a normal oak, has enjoyed a life that's lasted around a millennium. It has a diameter of around 10 metres, and weighs 23 tons. Inside the trunk there is a hollow cavity, which was supposedly the hideout of Robin and his Merry Men, as they avoided the outraged Sheriff of Nottingham. For many years now, the tree's frail limbs have been propped up by wooden scaffolding. The Major Oak may be old and weary, but there is hope for the future. Acorns and branch cuttings have been taken, with the hope of growing new trees elsewhere.
More history and information about both Robin Hood, and the forest, is available at the visitor centre. The site also features a few shops and restaurants, where you can buy souvenirs and refreshments.
From the visitor centre and the Major Oak, a vast network of walking paths and trails spreads out throughout the forest. Most of these are very well signposted, so it's easy to follow your chosen route. Sherwood is a calm, beautiful place, ripe for exploration.
Elsewhere, the wood is home to Center Parcs, a holiday village full of sporting facilities, relaxing spas, and plenty of things to do. You can stay at your own villa, amongst the trees, and spend your days doing anything from horse riding, to relaxing in the dreamily-named Subtropical Swimming Paradise.
Another fun place is Go Ape!, an adventure course in the trees made up of rope swings, wooden bridges, and other hair-raising obstacles. They have a zip line that's over 100 metres long!
Sherwood Forest used to be a leisure site for the British royalty's exclusive use, but nowadays, it's an adventure playground that's open to everybody.
Visitor Information
Sherwood Forest Visitor’s Centre is open daily April to October, from 10:30am to 5pm (4:30pm Winter). Entry is FREE though car-parking charges apply at weekends and holidays. Edwinstowe, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire NG21 9HN. Tel: 01623 823 202
Sherwood Pines Go Ape is open daily from April to October and weekends in November (closed on Tuesdays during term time). Opening times vary according to daylight. Entry costs around £30 for adults, £20 children. Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire NG21 9JH. Tel: 0845 643 92 15

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy