Sherwood Forest is special

The world’s most famous heritage forest.  Legendary stomping ground of Robin Hood.  Since Victorian times, a magnet for tourists.  Today, an ecological treasure…

A thousand year history

Sherwood was once a medieval Royal hunting forest that stretched across thousands of acres – covering much of Nottinghamshire west and north of the River Trent.  Its game and timber were the jealously guarded property of the Crown, its woods, wastes and open sandy heath the playground for kings, aristocrats and outlaws.

Threatened landscape

But this majestic English landscape suffered centuries of change, threat and fragmentation.  Crown lands were sold, enclosed, developed.  From Tudor shipbuilding to Victorian coal mining, industry has exploited the natural riches in and under the Forest.  From WWI training camps at Clipstone and trench and tank training on Budby Heath to the conifer plantations, designed to ease a post war timber shortage, Man’s activity has reshaped its landscapes.  What remains of Sherwood Forest is too precious to lose.

Secrets & surprises

Sherwood Forest guards secrets and surprises.  Over the past few years, amateur historians have rediscovered in the forest a lost Viking meeting place, “Thynghowe.”  And archaeology has confirmed that what was long thought the slight remains of a hunting lodge at Kings Clipstone was once a sprawling medieval palace.  In 2010 bug experts located the only colony in the UK of the rare Hazel Pot Beetle, and at Clumber Park volunteers found a Diamond Spider – presumed extinct for 50 years.  What more undiscovered treasures await discovery?

Immerse yourself!

Experience Sherwood’s haunting beauty at sites such as Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, where visitors walk the ancient woodlands of “Bilhaugh” and “Birklands” through groves of slender silver birch, beneath 500 year old oak trees gnarled by time and weather into fantastical shapes.

What is the Sherwood Forest Trust?

Sherwood today is owned and managed by a variety of different landowners – from private individuals to major charities such as the RSPB and the National Trust, from district councils to the Forestry Commission.

The Sherwood Forest Trust, based in Robin Hood’s village of Edwinstowe, is the only charity entirely devoted to the conservation, preservation and celebration of this heritage forest.

Independent of any commercial or political affiliations, we work in partnership with volunteers, community groups, landowners, councils and charities for the benefit of Sherwood Forest.  Our projects range from tree planting with local schools to events celebrating traditional forest skills such as the Major Oak Woodland Festival at Sherwood Forest Country Park.  We carry out conservation management on behalf of  partners, and help local communities reconnect with their heritage – for example by running the “Sherwood Lecture” series at local venues.

We don’t own or run the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, nor do we own land.  We work in partnership with landowners and land managers,  influencing, assisting, advocating and coordinating, for the benefit of Sherwood Forest.

Forest Facts

  • Sherwood was once a Royal Hunting Forest, the same as Epping Forest or the Forest of Dean, mostly open spaces of grassland and heathland with woodland and wood pasture.
  • The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, the last remnant of ancient woodland, near Edwinstowe is the natural heart of Sherwood but ‘medieval’ Sherwood Forest covered an area a third the size of central London.
  • By the year 2000, 90% of Sherwood Forest’s heathland had been lost and much of the woodland, some continuously forested since the end of the last Ice Age, has suffered the same fate.
  • In 1995, The Sherwood Forest Trust was established to stop this decline, to ensure Sherwood Forest would survive for hundreds more years.
  • We protect and champion that huge area that Sherwood once was, we are its guardians, not its owner.
  • We protect the natural environment, promote its cultural heritage and champion the communities of 21st Century Sherwood Forest.

The Sherwood Forest Trust are the Robin Hood for today.

Going, going…

Then & Now Map

Over the centuries Sherwood Forest has become fragmented. Our picture shows the extent of this destruction and loss. With progress comes a cost – the loss of species and habitats, of landscapes, of ways of life and humans disconnected from nature.

YOU can help!

Protect the legendary landscape of Sherwood Forest.  Make a donation or become a Sherwood Supporter today.

We’re continuously developing new projects to recreate new woodland and lowland heathland, whilst working to raise awareness of this national treasure.  Help us protect Sherwood Forest for our children to enjoy, to marvel in its nature, legend and heritage.

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