Sherwood Forest centre to tell Robin Hood story

A £5 million Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre will open this summer, offering more space for events and visitors.

The current visitor centre will shut, as it is close to ancient trees of special scientific interest.

The new centre in Forest Corner, Edwinstowe, will include information about the legend of Robin Hood, as well as wildlife and trees in the forest.

The site will be run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, Thoresby Estate, Woodland Trust, Sherwood Forest Trust and Continuum Attractions.

Michael Copleston, the RSPB’s North Midlands area reserves manager, told the Nottinghamshire Visitor Economy Summit on Monday (June 18) that the forest has the largest group of ancient oaks in the UK, with many as old as 1,000 years.

He said visitors’ top priorities are toilets, Robin Hood and the Major Oak, so the centre will tell the story of the famous outlaw and the ancient tree.

The centre’s launch will be celebrated with a Robin Hood festival at the end of August and other activities in autumn and winter.

He estimated half a million visitors a year will come to the forest.

• Heather Mayfield, chief executive of the Nottingham Castle Trust, updated delegates about the £30 million transformation of the city’s castle site.

“We are taking a much-loved historic icon and transforming it into a visitor destination,” she said.

“It’s a sleeping giant.”

She said visitor numbers should rise from 230,000 to 400,000 a year when the works are finished in 2020, and more people know about the site’s art collections, activities and Robin Hood Gallery.