New Sherwood Forest deal hailed as boost for ancient trees

A consortium led by the RSPB was named yesterday (12 August) as the preferred bidder to manage natural habitats within Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest Country Park, and to design, build and operate a new visitor centre.

Image: Colin Wilkinson
Image: Colin Wilkinson

Nottinghamshire County Council's management contract requires the preferred bidder to deliver on effective conservation of the country park within the wider Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

The park is home to the 800-year-old, 10m-girth Major Oak, which has been actively managed for over a century, as well as numerous other significant ancient trees.

The consortium also includes The Sherwood Forest Trust, Continuum Attractions and Thoresby Estate, who together have put forward a £5.3m investment programme. Final contracts on the deal are expected to be signed by the end of next month.

Council leader Councillor Alan Rhodes said: "The consortium has a vast amount of experience and knowledge to promote the international icon of Robin Hood and preserve and protect our world-famous Sherwood Forest."

Home to the annual Robin Hood Festival, the 180-hectare country park draws around 350,000 visitors a year. It was previously managed in-house by the council.

Natural England acting area manager David Parker said: "The iconic Sherwood Forest NNR is Nottinghamshire's premier wildlife site and internationally important for its famous ancient trees and special woodland wildlife.

"We're pleased that this project will realise our shared ambition to fully restore the condition of this ancient forest to its former glory through the removal of the current facilities. This new modern visitor centre will enable people to continue to marvel at and enjoy this specially protected site in a more sustainable way."

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