My journey on the Robin Hood Trail began in Edwinstowe at the heart of the Sherwood Forest where legends of Robin Hood have been so commonly associated. I took one look around the Visitor’s Center which stands dead smack in the middle of a thousand of the forest’s most ancient oaks at over 500 years old. There was no mistake, I had arrived to Robin Hood territory. With the ancient oaks of the Sherwood Forest dated to be be some of the oldest in Europe, it’s no wonder they are teeming with ballads of a ‘green man’.
About Robin Hood in the Sherwod Forest
Tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men taking refuge in Sherwood Forest’s oldest tree, the ‘Major Oak’, have been passed down over hundreds of years. These woods once spread out over 100,000 acres in Nottinghamshire. This would have made it quite difficult for the Sheriff to find Robin and his Merry Men, making it a perfect place to plan and execute attacks on the wealthy. Perhaps there is more legend than we know of hiding in the shadows and the hollows of these ancient woods.
The Fairytale Traveler Experience
As I stood on the edge of the Great North Road which runs straight through the Sherwood Forest, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was standing on the same path Robin Hood once used over 700 years ago. It would have been his stomping ground for raiding carriages carrying people of privilege and their valued goods. As I walked along that wet leaf-covered forest path leading us to the ‘Major Oak’, it wasn’t hard for me to picture him hiding behind the ancient oaks, bow in hand and ready to attack. You see, in the Sherwood Forest you are away from everything which reminds you that you are in the new millennium. I mean, as far as the forest is concerned, you’re just another privileged passenger on Robin Hood’s path to thievery.
The Major Oak
Sunbeams collected themselves on a massive trunk. I stood eyeing the natural marvel. It was enormous! Oddly enough, it was shaped like a little house. One could easily slip inside and hide. The famed oak, known as the ‘Major Oak’, is widely known to be where Robin Hood and his Merry Men gathered.
As you can see, photos did little justice for this natural spectacle. At about 800 years old, weighing 23 tons and with a branch span of 92′, this is definitely a “major” oak. This tree, along with its ancient cousins, have made this forest a protected Special Area of Conservation. In reality however, this tree would have been much smaller when Robin Hood was alive, making it just a few feet tall. Still, this tree affected so many over the years that is inspired stories that made their way into our lives for 700 hundred years. If you ask me, that’s pretty magical.
The Sherwood Forest is a lovely place for day hikes and heritage and can be enjoyed by the entire family.