A new chapter in the legendary woodland home of Robin Hood has begun with the foundation-laying of a brand-new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest.
The building will be a modern gateway to the forest which is packed with ancient trees, including the iconic Major Oak – thought to be around 1000 years old, as well as home to a wide variety of wildlife, from birds to rare insects. It is part of an investment of more than £5 million to provide an excellent visitor experience and preserve the forest for generations to come.
Back in August 2015, a consortium led by the RSPB won a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop and manage the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve and to design and build a new visitor centre.
The new centre will be modern and environmentally sound, and will comprise of a welcome area, a shop and a café. It will also include a terrace for the café and an amphitheatre outdoor area, as well as a new playground.
Ross Frazer, the RSPB’s project manager, said: “We’re so excited to start work at the new Sherwood Forest visitor centre. It’s a privilege to be custodians of the Robin Hood legacy, to continue the traditions of this ancient legend and to tell it afresh to new generations.
“For the RSPB and our partners, we couldn’t be more proud to be involved in this fantastic landscape, which we hope to protect and conserve for many years to come.
“Around 350,000 people visit this world-famous site each year. With the help of our new centre, we want to inspire visitors to enjoy and celebrate Sherwood’s magical woodland, wildlife and enviable heritage.”
When the new building opens in the summer of 2018, the current 1970’s visitor centre and car parks will be removed, and the site where they stand returned to nature.
As well as providing the new centre, the RSPB-led partnership will also manage the stunning ancient woodland within Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR), currently under the care of Nottinghamshire County Council. The council chose the RSPB to lead the consortium, and will remain a partner in the plans, having invested more than £4 million.
The Woodland Trust has also joined the consortium this month, as an associate partner, adding to the wealth of expertise on show. Local charity The Sherwood Forest Trust, landowner Thoresby Estate and heritage attractions firm, Continuum Attractions complete the partnership.
In addition, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – a private sector-led partnership promoting economic and job growth across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – has pledged £500,000 to the project from its Local Growth Fund.
The internationally important NNR contains almost 1,000 ancient oaks, the highest density in Western Europe, many in excess of 500 years old. The most famous, the Major Oak, is thought to be nearly twice that old, and was crowned England’s tree of the year in 2014. According to local folklore, this 23-ton oak offered shelter to Robin Hood and his gang of outlaws.
Cllr John Handley, chairman of Nottingham County Council, said: "We’re delighted to continue to be part of this iconic forest, and of a new era for Sherwood - for Robin Hood, local communities and for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to explore this historic site each year.
This new modern centre will be wonderful for everyone and will bring a real boost to the visitor economy."
Find out more about the project at www.visitsherwood.co.uk
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Helen Moffat on 0791 3229175 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: Tuesday 3 October 2017