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Sherwood Forest thriving thanks to partnership between Nottinghamshire County Council and RSPB

08 June 2022

This year, the RSPB and Nottinghamshire County Council are celebrating four years of working in partnership to manage Sherwood Forest.

Since the RSPB was appointed in 2018 to manage the legendary home of the Major Oak it has succeeded in protecting, conserving, and enhancing the ecology of the forest, whilst also enriching the experience for thousands of visitors who have been able to enjoy the forest for free.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre close just 18 months after opening and the nature reserve restricted to only operating on a health and safety basis, there have been numerous successes at the 450-acre country park.

Vital conservation work to remove the old Visitor Centre area has resulted in wood pasture, heathland and acid grassland beginning to emerge in an area that was previously concrete and tarmac helping the RSPB to slowly restore this part of the Site of Scientific Interest towards favourable condition. The team have worked hard to continue to conserve the endangered species that live in the forest, such as saproxylic invertebrates, which rely on deadwood for survival. The recent discovery of a new spider species that had not been recorded at Sherwood Forest together with other species that are rarely recorded provides further evidence of ecological success.

Councillor John Cottee Cabinet Member for Communities said: “So much has been achieved at Sherwood Forest since we appointed the RSPB to manage it on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council and it’s clear that the forest and its inhabitants are thriving.

“We all know the important role that nature plays in supporting our mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s for a walk, a run, a picnic with friends and family, an insect hunt or a spot of birdwatching, it is fantastic that so many people have been able to explore this wonderful forest and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We look forward to the continued success of our partnership with the RSPB.”

The staff at Sherwood Forest have teamed up with expert arboriculturists to conserve the hundreds of ancient oaks that grow in the forest. The provisional results of a recent ‘condition survey’ are testament to their hard work, revealing that an estimated 300 ancient oak trees are now in the top health class, compared to just 93 in 2010.

Visitors to Sherwood Forest have been able to take part in lots of exciting events organised by the RSPB since Covid-19 restrictions eased. These have included ‘Wild in the Greenwood’ the ‘Robin Robin Trail’, the ‘Love Edwinstowe and Sherwood Forest craft trail’ and most recently, an event to celebrate International Women’s Weekend. Sensory walks for blind and partially sighted people have also been arranged with support from the RNIB.

The varied events programme has been instrumental in attracting a wide range of people to visit Sherwood Forest, where they have been able to connect with nature and the environment. Building on the success of these events, a packed schedule of events has been planned for the summer of 2022, including an outdoor cinema event on 16 July and a special event to celebrate Nottinghamshire Day on 27 August.  

Gemma Howarth, RSPB Senior Site Manager at Sherwood Forest, said: “We are extremely proud of everything that we have achieved since we began our work at Sherwood Forest. It has been great to see the results of our conservation and ecological work and know that we are helping to preserve this legendary ancient forest for future generations.”

For more information about Sherwood Forest visit https://www.visitsherwood.co.uk/about-sherwood-forest/

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