Sherwood Forest

800 year old  oak tree deep in Sherwood Forest

A Conversation Between Trees will be in Rufford Abbey Country Park 13th September – 30th October 2011

The woodlands in the park are a mixed forest with the remains of oak and birch that would have once been part of the old Sherwood Forest.

Sherwood Forest is an ancient forest in the heart of England, close to the city of Nottingham.  Known around the world for the myth of Robin Hood, the outlaw who hid in the forest with his gang of Merry Men and stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Sherwood Forest was once heathland with Oak and Birch trees and many clearings, stretching from Nottingham and up into Yorkshire, joining with Barnsdale Forest, hence the disagreements about where in England the myth of Robin Hood comes from.

Throughout history the trees of Sherwood Forest have been felled to be used for timber, for industry, ship building, war and the land around it has been used as pastureland, coal mining and  a large plantation of pine forest was grown for timber after the Second World War.

The modern forest still remains in patches around Nottinghamshire, small woods exist still with Oaks and Birch trees all around the area, much of the remaining forest is being managed to return it to traditional mixed forest.

In the main area of Sherwood Forest, beyond and around the visitors centre you can see the ancient stag oaks, these are oaks that have survived over 500 years, some of them nearly 900 years old.  Many of them are twisted and coppiced and were left during the war because they werent the healthy trees.  The Major Oak is part of the myth of Robin Hood is possibly over 1000 years old, probably two old oaks grown together.  Many of these old oaks have become hollow.

Active Ingredient conducted workshops in Sherwood Forest with Djanogly City Academy in 2009-2010 as part of their research project, The Dark Forest

Answers to the questions from Rio about Sherwood Forest

(Questions sent by students from Escola Camino Castelo Branco, Rio de Janeiro and answered by students at Djanogly City Academy, Nottingham with Andy and Izi, forest rangers from Nottinghamshire County Council)

Atmospheric pressure:
1. Has Sherwood Forest edible fruits?
There aren’t many edible fruit growing now in the forest. There are some herbs growing including wild garlic.  Supposedly once upon a time fruits and nuts grew in the forest and people picked Bilberries and sold them at markets all around the region.

2. Are there endangered animals?
There are deer, red squirrels, insects, birds and bugs that are endangered species and many rare insects live in the forest.  The rangers say that the insects are the maximum priority and there are particular beetles that live on the oak trees that are very rare and only live on certain trees but stay there for generations, if the trees die or get cut down then the whole family of beetles disappear.

1. Are there waterfalls in Sherwood Forest?
There are no waterfalls in the forest.

2. Does it rain much during the year?
It rains a lot in the forest throughout the year, although this is because it rains alot in England and is not unique to the forest. The average rainfall in the Midlands region per year is 785.5mm of rain.

1. What is the smallest tree that exists in the forest?
The smallest trees in the forest are the silver birch trees, they are thin and not that tall, the average height is 18-25m.  Their bark is silver and shiny.  Sherwood Forest used to be called the Birchlands as there are so many birch trees in the forest.

2. What is the animal that makes the most noise in the woods?
The birds make the most noise in the forest, sometimes you can hear frogs and the cows that are farmed in the forest.

1. What is the oldest tree in the forest?
The oldest tree in the forest is the Major Oak, it is nearly 1500 years old and is possibly 2 trees grown together. The myth is that this is the tree where Robin Hood and his merry men met up.

2. What is the tallest tree in the forest?
The oaks are the tallest trees in the forest, it is possible that the Major Oak is the tallest of these trees, although the older the trees are the wider they become and the wider their branches spread (you can tell the age of the tree by the amount of rings on the inside of the tree trunk).

1. What is the highest temperature that the forest has reached in the last 10 years?
We don’t know the highest temperature in the forest, in the summer it tends to be between 20 – 30 degrees.  The highest temperature in England in the last 10 years was 38.5 degrees but this was further south.

2. Is it very cold in the shade of the trees?
There isn’t a big difference between the temperature in the shade of the trees and in the sun as there is not that much shade and the trees are mainly spread apart.  In the summer when it is hot and sunny then there may be a few degrees difference in the shade.


Dominic from University of Nottingham at the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

Posted: August 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Featured | ↑ Back to top