COLUMN: New chapter for forest

Phase two of the new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest
Phase two of the new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest

The foundations have been officially laid for a modern new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest.

It certainly marks an exciting new chapter for this world-famous country park.

The new centre will be a real boost to tourism in Nottinghamshire and will attract more visitors to this iconic woodland while protecting its ecological and environmental value for the future.

It means new jobs and investment for the county as well as being a great place to take the family to visit to give an even better visitor experience.

Afterall, as a council we want to see a more prosperous Nottinghamshire, have more jobs for local peopleand promote the county as great place to bring up a family.

The new centre will include information about Robin Hood, the wealth of wildlife, spectacular trees and legendary stories of the forest, which is of course famous the world over thanks to Robin Hood.

It will also include a shop and a café, with a terrace and amphitheatre outside, as well as a brand-new play area.

Having seen the plans myself I can’t wait for the new centre to open its doors next summer.

It’s being built by a consortium led by the RSPB, on behalf of and in partnership with the county council. The consortium also includes a wealth of experts from the Sherwood Forest Trust, Thoresby Estate and Continuum Attractions, together with The Woodland Trust to help further support the woodland management plan for the country park.

After all, it does have almost 1,000 ancient oaks, the highest density in western Europe, many of them more than 500 years old.

The most famous, the Major Oak, is thought to be nearly twice that age, and was crowned England’s tree of the year in 2014.

And we all know the folklore that this 23-ton oak offered shelter to Robin Hood and his gang of outlaws.

When the new centre opens it will also mark the management of the country park being handed over to the consortium, with the county council remaining very much a key partner.

This represents an investment of more than £5 
million.

As always there’s lots going on. Park staff are currently busy organising this year’s Sparkling Sherwood event, so don’t forgot to book tickets for this spectacular event where the park lights up during the weekend of December 15-to-17.

To book, call 01623 823 202 or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/events/153/sparkling-sherwood.