Updated: Mar 16, 2018
When you say the words Sherwood Forest, what comes to mind? For most, it would be Nottingham's most famous legendary figure, Robin Hood.
Sherwood Forest, located in the Midlands county of Nottinghamshire, is a royal forest. Royal forests are simply areas of land legally reserved for specific purposes such as royal hunting. They can contain few trees, as is the case of the Royal Forest of Exmoor, an extensive moorland devoid of trees in the south of England.
Sherwood Forest, though, has been full of trees since the last Ice Age. According to the Domesday Book, Sherwood Forest covered at least a quarter of Nottinghamshire. Today, the forest is much smaller, though it still contains many places associated with the legendary Robin Hood.
The Major Oak
The Major Oak is a large, oddly-shaped oak tree in the middle of Sherwood Forest. Local folklore says that this is the tree where Robin Hood and his Merry Men sheltered and slept. The tree is about 800-1000 years old, and its largest branches have been supported with scaffolding since Victorian times. It has been voted Britain's favorite tree multiple times.
The Major Oak is located near Edwinstowe, a large village that serves as the central point of the Sherwood Forest reserve. This village is home to six pubs, a tea room, and the Sherwood Forest Art & Craft Centre. The church in the village, St Mary's, dates back to the 1100s, and is thought to be the church where Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married.
The Sheriff of Nottingham
In the Robin Hood legends, the Sheriff of Nottingham is a nasty figure who heavily taxes the people of Nottinghamshire, and who is tasked with capturing outlaws like Robin Hood. There is still a Sheriff of Nottingham today, though they are a far cry from the evil character from the stories.
A Sheriff differs a lot between the USA and the UK. Whereas the American Sheriff is often a law enforcement chief or similar, the UK Sheriff is a ceremonial role on a county's council. Up until the 17th Century, the Sheriff was responsible for upholding the law in their county. Today, law enforcement is left to the local police and the role of Sheriff, including the Sheriff of Nottingham, is largely ceremonial. Their main role is to greet royal visitors to the county, to oversee local elections to the council, and to act as a deputy to the Lord Mayor.
Edwinstowe and the Major Oak are locations on Tina's Brit Life Tour taking place in September 2018.