Sherwood Forest, sat in the heart of Nottinghamshire and the legendary stomping ground of Robin Hood and his merry men back in the day.
Home to the infamous Major Oak Tree dating back to the medieval times, Sherwood is a 450 acre Country Park and currently managed by an RSPB led consortium in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council.
The forest is said to have over 900 veteran oak trees and is open to the public everyday of the year except Christmas Day.
Sherwood Forest is a landmark of thousands of years in the making alive with nature, ancient forest, history and folklore and for everyone to explore. What I took in most on my visit was the sheer number of trees blanketing throughout this ancient woodland. Over a thousand ancient oak trees remain throughout, many dating back to medieval times. The forest is home to many living creatures including wild birds, bats, squirrels and even red deer roam around the forest.
The Forest Trails
There are several well marked walks and trails giving visitors a great introduction to the forest. Including The Major Oak Trail, The Giants Trail, The Greenwood Trail, and The Wildwood Trail. I walked down the Major Oak Trail but all are a perfect way to begin to get to know this unique forest. If you want to lead you own expedition into the forest you can follow one of the many other paths and bridleways.
The Major Oak
The Major Oak is without a doubt the biggest tree in Britain with a canopy spread of 28 meters, trunk circumference of 11 meters and weighing around 23 tonnes. The exact age of the tree is unknown but believed to be around 800-1100 years old surviving fire, raging winds, heavy snowstorms and hundreds of years of deforestation.
Legend has it that Robin Hood and his Merry men used this magnificent tree for shelter camping beneath it and hiding inside the hollow trunk.
Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre
At the heart of the park is a visitors centre with lots of information about the forest, Robin Hood and his merry men, and statues. There is also a shop to purchase memorabilia and several playgrounds nearby which includes den building.
Ancient Trees in Sherwood Forest
What makes Sherwood Forest special is the number of ancient oak trees which can be seen from the walks and trails. They are a beautiful and unique to look at and take you a step back into nature. All in all there are believed to be over a thousand ancient trees alive in the forest.
The Outlaw Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a legendary heroic outlaw originally depicted in English folk law and later in literature and film. He was said to be a highly skilled archer and swordsman.
His lover was said to be Maid Marion and his Merry Men (Outlaws) included Friar Tuck, Little John and Will Scarlet.
He’s depicted as to have robbed from the rich to give to the poor.
His chief opponent was said to be The Sheriff of Nottingham.
Robin Hood Festival
Sherwood Forest host’s The Robin Hood Festival each year. Be prepared for seven days of live re-enactments, dance, songs, storytelling, sword-fighting, archery and adventures with the outlaws.
The festival includes food and drink stalls, demonstrations, craft stalls and medieval music to get you into the mood and immerse yourselves into the legends of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
The annual Robin Hood festival at Sherwood Forest has be taking place since 1984 and 2020 will be the 36th annual event.