Festive fun at county’s country parks

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This time of year is a magical time for the whole family to prepare for the festive season and we are already enjoying some excellent events taking place at our country parks.

The annual tree dressing event and sparkling Sherwood evenings at Sherwood Forest celebrate our natural history as part of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Christmas programme.

The tree dressing event took place last weekend (December 4) providing a lot of excitement and interest for the whole family.

It is an ancient tradition surviving throughout the world which takes place between autumn and early winter.

In honour of this tradition, a tree within the visitor centre courtyard was dressed as part of a fun family event with colourful ribbons and lights.

Its origins are rooted in the Green Man legends of ancient times and the importance that humans placed on the provisions of nature.

Our ancestors held tree dressing events to give thanks for the harvest and to look forward to the coming of Spring and new growth.

Today this ancient custom helps to remind us of the value of trees to both humans and wildlife. As some of the longest living and largest life forms on Earth, they help to keep our planet healthy and provide a valuable home for countless species of wildlife, particularly in ancient woodland such as here in Sherwood Forest.

Deciduous trees, such as the Oak also help us to keep in touch with the seasons with their constantly changing foliage. Likewise, the shapes within trees such as the Major Oak excite our imagination and are full of cultural, inspirational and historic interest.

Tree dressing day usually takes place in the first weekend in December and aims to encourage the celebration of trees in both the countryside and urban areas together with reminding us of our responsibility for looking after these wildlife wonders.

Sparkling Sherwood – this year’s winter lighting event takes place in the evenings from December 9 - 11, and was first held three years ago to help mark the country park’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

The event, being organised in conjunction with The Sherwood Forest Trust and supported by Awards for All, is a unique trail with entry by ticket only in order to make the event as safe and enjoyable for visitors as possible.

Many other festive events are taking place at Sherwood Forest, Rufford Abbey and Bestwood country parks. Visit: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/events