Latest on plans for new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest

10 December 2015

Local people are being reassured they will have their say on plans for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest. 

Last week the council signed a contract with an RSPB-led consortium to manage Sherwood Forest country park and develop and manage a new visitor centre. The consortium partners are:

  • the RSPB
  • the Sherwood Forest Trust
  • Continuum Attractions
  • Thoresby Estate. 

The plans

The county council and the RSPB-led consortium will be engaging with all interested community groups, residents and local organisations about the plans for the visitor centre:

  • the new visitor centre will be within the country park site boundary on Forest Road - but not on land within the national nature reserve.
  • the cricket ground and the club will remain in place.
  • a fairground currently operates on the site at Forest Corner on a one-year lease, and the fairground owners have been offered a suitable new location close to Edwinstowe on county council owned land at Naish’s Field.

The RSPB – the UK’s leading conservation charity – has a track record of building award-winning visitor centres, sympathetic with the surroundings of the natural environment and addressing the needs of local communities.

Keen to keep people engaged

Peter Gaw, Group Manager within Youth, Families and Cultural Services, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: "We are keen to keep local residents and community groups engaged as Sherwood Forest Country Park progresses with this exciting new chapter in its history. We are all extremely proud of our world-famous forest and we will be working with the RSPB-led consortium to fully consult with people to help our neighbours and local communities to learn more about the proposals and gain their input and views on developing the plans."

Derek Higton, Service Director for Youth, Families and Cultural Services, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We were delighted to sign contracts last week with the RSPB-led consortium for the future management of the country park. It is a wonderful opportunity for the community and local economy to gain a high quality-visitor experience which will bring significant benefits to the whole area.

"As announced last week, the preferred location for the new visitor centre is on land within the existing country park site at Forest Corner and we will be working both with partners and the public as this project develops.

"The existing Sherwood centre [staying open until the new centre is opened during winter 2017] has to be removed from its forest site because it is positioned within a national nature reserve. The centre is no longer fit for purpose and the forest has to be restored at that site as directed by Natural England.

"Forest Corner was assessed independently amongst other options during the procurement process and identified clearly as the most appropriate location for the centre. It was chosen because it is 'within 15 minutes walking' access to the Major Oak, for example."

Designs and planning permission

The RSPB-led consortium is now tendering for the design team and appointing a lead architect for the project. The design team will develop detailed plans in consultation with stakeholders and the local community and seek planning permission next year.

Details of community engagement opportunities within the local community to consult on the project will be announced in the coming weeks.

Find out more

You can learn more about the outline proposals by visiting our Sherwood Forest webpage.