People looking to explore the legend of Robin Hood and the natural beauty of the world-famous Sherwood Forest will soon be given a welcome, fit for merry-men after an RSPB-led consortium was granted planning permission to build a new state of the art visitor centre.
Around 350,000 visitors from across the globe who have been inspired by tales of Robin Hood visit Nottinghamshire's world-famous Sherwood Forest Country Park each year and will soon be able to enjoy the new visitor centre as they explore the myths and mysteries that the forest holds.
To be built at the Forest Corner in Edwinstowe, the £5.3m project will be a gateway to the forest that is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from birds to rare insects, as well as the iconic Major Oak - thought to be more than 1000 years old.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager, said: "The legend of Robin Hood is known throughout the world and to bring that legend to life at Sherwood Forest it needs a world class visitor centre - this announcement means we will soon see work start on making this happen.
"Prior to our application we took on board a lot of feedback from the local community and we're sure that they are going to be just as excited as we are to be one step closer to bringing that vision to life."
The planning permission was granted by Newark and Sherwood District Council after an RSPB-led consortium won a bid in August 2015 to design and build a new visitor centre and manage Sherwood Forest Country Park in 2018.
The centre will comprise of a welcome area, a shop, a cafe with a terrace and an amphitheatre that will be used for events.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: "We have always been totally committed to plans for a new and modern visitor centre fit for the 21st century to promote the legend of Robin Hood and our world famous Sherwood Forest. This news is exciting as it is bringing this vision one step closer to reality for everyone."
Councillor John Knight, Culture Committee Chair at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is great news for Sherwood Forest, for Robin Hood, local communities and for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to explore our historic county park each year.
"Our current visitor centre is well loved but does not provide full visitor offer that people expect. This new modern centre will be wonderful for everyone and will bring a real boost to the visitor economy."
1. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. www.rspb.org.uk
2. The RSPB-led consortium includes Sherwood Forest Trust, Continuum Attractions and Thoresby Estate.
3. The Sherwood Forest Trust was established in 1995 as the only charity whose sole purpose is the protection, preservation and promotion of Sherwood Forest, arguably the most famous forest in the world. The Trust champions the natural environment, the cultural heritage and the importance of local communities of the 21st Century Sherwood Forest and, in so doing, can claim to be a 'Robin Hood' for today. http://sherwoodforest.org.uk/
4. Continuum Attractions develops, owns and operates high-quality commercial visitor attractions across the UK under three brand portfolios; Heritage, ICON and Entertainment Attractions http://www.continuumattractions.com/
5. Thoresby Estate is the land owner of Sherwood Forest Country Park and its whole estate includes around 2,571 hectares of farm and forestry land. Thoresby Estate also acts as a guardian of Listed Buildings and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSI). http://www.whatsonatthoresby.co.uk/
6. Nottinghamshire County Council currently manages Sherwood Forest Country Park. It selected the RSPB-led consortium in 2015 to manage Sherwood Forest Country Park on behalf of the county council and develop and manage a new modern visitor centre, continuing to promote the world-famous forest and the legend of Robin Hood, and boosting the visitor economy and preserving its natural habitats. Management of the country park is set to transfer to the consortium in spring 2018. http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/