Green groups hold Sherwood summit to mark historic anniversary

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Environmentalists from across Nottinghamshire came together to mark the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest.

More than 100 people gathered at the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest to celebrate the historic moment, and hear about modern-day threats to the local landscape.

Pauline Meechan, a campaigner against fracking in Sherwood Forest, said: “The Charter of the Forest re-established rights of access to the royal forest for free men, which had been eroded by William the Conqueror and his heirs.

“We were reminded of the importance of the Charter and how it should continue to play an important part in the management and freedom of access to land that has, over the years, been eroded again.”

The crowds listened to, and joined in singing, old rhymes performed by the group Three Acres and a Cow, who specialise in storytelling about the history of land and food in Britain.

There were also speeches from American historian Peter Linebaugh, who described “damage” inflicted on countryside in the US and many other countries from the oil and gas exploration techniques known as fracking.

Author and academic Professor Guy Standing, of the University of London, also spoke about the need for a Charter of the Commons, which is currently under discussion in Parliament.

Several other speakers provided evidence of the “threats” posed by fracking and encouraged those present to engage with others in highlighting the potential risks to forests, water and open spaces.

King Henry III originally sealed the Charter of the Forest in England in 1217, and many view it as the companion document to the Magna Carta in establishing citizens’ rights.