Forest for all
Centuries in the making, the legend of Sherwood continues to grow, with every generation adding to its legacy.
Today, the forest is a magical destination for everyone who wants to enjoy this beautiful ancient woodland and the diverse flora and fauna that lives here. It is also, of course, home to the enduring legend of Robin Hood. For the 350,000 people who come to Sherwood Forest each year, we seek to make every one of those visits just a little bit magical.
Welcome to Sherwood
Over 1,000 acres of ancient woodland that is home to thousands of species of bird, insect, mammal, fungi, tree and plant. Wooded for centuries, and once part of a vast royal hunting ground, Sherwood’s a unique place to visit, boasting hundreds of ancient oaks thriving here for over 600 years, including the legendary Major Oak, estimated to be around 1,000 years old.
Robin Hood – Sherwood’s legend
Sherwood Forest has, for centuries, conjured up visions of its most famous resident – Robin Hood. At the heart of Sherwood’s legend, Robin and his merry men defend the rights of the poor, fool the law and hide out in amongst the forest’s famous oaks – a legend that has constantly adapted since the late medieval age, but has always endured. Tales of Robin Hood and his heroic acts still bring an air of magic to the woodlands he is said to have roamed.
Who lives here?
Apart from the legend of Robin Hood? Amongst many other wonderful things, almost 1,000 ancient oaks, an outstanding collection of invertebrate species and rare birds like the nightjar and tree pipit. All of this, and the fact that it’s one of the best surviving examples of oak-birch woodland in the UK, make Sherwood a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) protected under European law. As a unique habitat, much of what thrives here is rarely seen outside the forest, and even here some of our more elusive species are hard to spot, making sightings all the more exciting and memorable.
Plans for the future of the forest
In 2015, the RSPB was selected by Nottinghamshire County Council to manage the Sherwood Forest site, currently a country park, on behalf of, and in partnership with them. Other partners include The Sherwood Forest Trust, Thoresby Estate, The Woodland Trust and Continuum Attractions. Together with a shared goal, this team will protect, conserve and enhance the ecology of the forest, promote this magical place to a national and international audience, and enrich the experience of visitors, who will continue to be able to enjoy the forest for free.
Here’s what our collaborative project will involve:
We’ll continue to protect:
At the heart of Sherwood Forest is a National Nature Reserve: 450 acres of protected oak-birch woodland and heathland, where nature comes first. Sherwood’s once vast swathes of royal hunting forest have diminished over time – its protected status safeguards this part of the forest from damage and allows us to, with care, keep enjoying everything it offers.
A brand new visitor centre in a new location:
Due to open in 2018, the new visitor centre will provide more space to host events and engage visitors of all ages in the story of Sherwood and its legends, as well as being a new home to the shop and café. The relocation of the centre will allow the rejuvenation of the current site, which is close to ancient trees of special scientific interest. Its new position will also effectively connect the village of Edwinstowe to the forest too, giving visitors more to do and engaging local businesses in the success of this attraction.
A new drive to ‘join-up’ our broken habitats:
Futurescapes is the RSPB’s contribution to landscape-scale conservation – how we make habitats better, bigger and connect them together. Across Sherwood Forest, we are working with partners to manage, restore, create and reconnect areas of heathland and broad-leaved woodland that were once more extensive and joined, helping to provide a bigger and better home to more wildlife.