I only have a few months left living in the UK so decided that I should get out and about a bit more and ensure that I have seen all the sights in the local(ish) area…so this long weekend I decided to visit Sherwood Forest; famous for Robin Hood, Maid Marian and co. along with a really big tree!
The carpark costs £4 no matter how long you stay and you need cash along with your car registration to get your ticket. The car park is a bit disorganised with no bays marked out in the grass lanes but it wasn’t busy today so I had no issues…but I would advise getting there early on a sunny day!
The visitors centre has maps and people to suggest appropriate routes, along with toilets and a cafe. There are some shops and a craft centre but I couldn’t go in with Mozart (dog) so can’t pass any judgement on them. There is also a YHA hostel by the entrance and it looks like it would be a cool place to stay.
I decided to follow the Wildwood Train because it is the longest route and the routes are well sign posted both with regular large maps and with directional sign posts that never leave you guessing which direction they actually mean.
Map sign on the Wildwood route
The paths are even and well maintained but never lose their natural look and feel and there are informational signs, places for kids (and dogs) to climb along with an area for kids to build shelters. At the Major Oak there were also staff providing information and guidance on bird watching along with a separate RSPB stand.
Major Oak is believed to be between 800 – 1100 years old. Based on this estimate it is likely to have stood through the Vikings, the Battle of Hastings, Agincourt, Waterloo, the births and deaths of Shakespeare, Henry VII, Dickens, Darwin, Newton, Chaucer, Cromwell, the two world wars, and over 50 monarchs; if trees could talk it could certainly tell some tales!
This tree has survived fire, raging winds, heavy snowstorms and hundreds of years of deforestation along with watching as millions of people from all over the world have gathered around it to stare up at its branches.
As the biggest tree in Britain, with a canopy spread of 28m, trunk circumference of 11m and an estimated weight of 23 tonnes, Major Oak has been quite the tourist attraction. It grew in a clearing without having to compete with other trees for nutrients from the relatively poor soil, for space to expand outwards or for sunlight. Major Oak’s popularity means that its roots began to suffer from being compressed by millions of footsteps and so in the 1970s it was fenced off to help it’s preservation. Supports were initially in place around the same time, but the large metal structures that can be seen in the photo above were much more recent having been installed in the 2000s.
Mozart did t seem too interested in the story of Robin Hood and His Merry Men or of Maid Marian so we glossed over that part of the day!
Mozart found some dead trees to climb on instead and really enjoyed exploring the hollows.
Overall the route took us just over 1 hour 45 minutes (including play stops!) and was 4.12 miles from and back to the car and can recommend it as a nice visit for just about anyone!