Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England

Sherwood Forest is one of those iconic places that may be richer in mythology than in reality, like Camelot or Xanadu or Stone Henge. Still, it's an irresistible draw...we had to check it out eventually. One Saturday in November we finally did.

The Forest is run by the Nottinghamshire County Council and the only admission charge is a slight parking fee. The entrance has some nice restaurants, shops, and a small museum.

Museum and gift shop entrances

The first sign in the museum

The museum presents the history of what is known about Robin Hood and the folklore that surrounds him. They were just getting ready for the Christmas season, so the statue of Robin Hood was decorated appropriately. Sadly, the picture of the Sheriff of Nottingham holding a present did not come out. It was pretty funny.

Robin Hood in his Christmas TV special, "Bows of  Holly"

Another fun sign

Many of the exhibits had little buttons to push to hear about the Merry Men or the customs and laws of Robin Hood's time. J and L enjoyed listening again and again. Or maybe just pushing the buttons again and again.

J joins the Merry Men for a pot of stew

In the stocks for the crime of balding!

Outside the visitor center are several statues of famous scenes, like Robin's fight with Little John on a bridge.

Famous quarterstaff conflict

Robin takes aim

L makes a face

The forest itself has several walking (and trotting) trails. We chose the short loop out to the Major Oak since it dates back to Robin's time.

L still trying to be a statue on the trail

The horse path!

Random bit of the forest

The Major Oak

The Major Oak is estimated to be between 800 and 1150 years old with a trunk 33 feet in diameter. The canopy is 92 feet across and the tree is still growing. In the interest of keeping it going, some supports have been added to the more massive branches.

The Major Oak from the other side

The Major Supports

The legends tell that Robin and his Merry Men would meet at this oak before going on adventures but little is known for certain. Stories of Robin Hood date back to 1261, very close to his presumed existence in the late 1100s and early 1200s.

The forest has plenty of other interesting trees, some spooky, some creepy crawly, some carved fantastically.

One spooky sample

Another spooky spot

Home to creepy crawlies...

...so says the sign!

A fun carving!

J and L did find a little shelter that immediately became their headquarters for action. Until they realized how spooky it was and they ran away!

The lair?

The forest is quite evocative though not as densely packed with trees as it looks in movies and TV shows. It made for pleasant fall walking.

Can't see the forest for the trees

A bench!

We visited plenty of other spots in the area which we'll see in upcoming posts!


  1. The trees here are beautiful.. it's fun to stop at cheesy places. It reminds me of the museum for the Wizard of Oz in Kansas!


  2. There's a Dracula museum in Whitby (where his boat landed in the novel) but it looked too scary for the kids. I really wanted to go inside.