Update 23rd February, 2017
Site Preparation Work at Forest Corner
With planning permission now in place, the RSPB and its partners are set to push forward with the development of the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. While construction work is not due to start until the spring, contractors are now beginning to prepare the Forest Corner site.
This will involve the felling of a small number of trees. While felling some trees is unavoidable, it will be kept to an absolute minimum. Covered by planning permission, felling will be kept to a minimum. All trees have been surveyed for bats and individual trees will be checked again before felling.
We'll be planting new native trees as part of our landscaping, making sure nature has rich new habitats.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Senior Project Manager
Update 17th January, 2017
Full steam ahead as iconic Sherwood Forest's new visitor centre gets planning permission
Newark and Sherwood District Council has approved the planning application for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest, first submitted by an RSPB-led consortium in September.
The consortium won a bid in August 2015 as part of a procurement process organised by Nottinghamshire County Council to design and build the new centre and manage Sherwood Forest Country Park in 2018.
The approval makes the way for a modern facility to be built at Forest Corner in Edwinstowe. Following the opening of the new building, the current 1970’s visitor centre and car parks will be removed, and the site where they stand returned to nature.
The new visitor centre will be a gateway to the magical home of Robin Hood where ancient oaks and wildlife live in harmony and thrive. It will comprise of a welcome area, a shop and a café. It will also include a terrace for the café and an amphitheatre outdoor area.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager, said: "We’re absolutely delighted to have been granted planning permission to build this fantastic new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest. Prior to our application we took on board a lot of feedback from the local community, and hope that they are just as excited as we are to be one step closer to bringing that vision to life."
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Councillor John Knight, Culture Committee Chairman are thrilled at the news.
Councillor Rhodes added: "We have always been totally committed to plans for a new and modern visitor centre fit for the 21st century to promote the legend of Robin Hood and our world famous Sherwood Forest. Today's news is exciting as it is bringing this vision one step closer to reality for everyone."
Councillor Knight concluded: "This is great news for Sherwood Forest, for Robin Hood, local communities and for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to explore our historic country park each year. Our current visitor centre is well loved but does not provide a full visitor offer that people expect. This new modern centre will be wonderful for everyone and will bring a real boost to the visitor economy."
Update 29th November, 2016
Discovering the wonder of Sherwood Forest both above and below the surface
Robin Hood's horse would need to mind its step if it rode into town this week, as some exciting site investigation work will be getting underway at Sherwood Forest Country Park.
The RSPB will be digging up to 15 trenches to investigate ground condition and carry out archaeology checks. Work will start from Monday 28 November and will take place during daylight hours.
The wildlife charity is waiting for a decision on planning permission to build a new visitor centre on the site. Ahead of the decision, site managers would like to know about the soil structure and what sort of ground they would be dealing with if the permission is granted.
The work will be carried out in Naish's field and at Forest Corner where the proposed Visitor Centre will be built.
It is estimated that work will take two weeks and it will cause minimal disruption to visitors and residents. As with any work at this site, every effort will be made not to disturb any wildlife, flora or fauna.
Ross Frazer, the RSPB's Sherwood Forest Project Manager, says: "You may notice machinery starting to appear and digging getting underway this week and we wanted to let everyone know that this work is simply investigative".
"Should anyone have any questions about the work then please do contact myself at - ".
Update September 28, 2016
RSPB submits plans for new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest
An RSPB-led consortium has submitted the planning application to Newark and Sherwood District Council for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest.
The consortium successfully won a bid in August last year as part of a procurement process organised by Nottinghamshire County Council to design and build the new centre and manage Sherwood Forest Country Park and National Nature Reserve from early 2018.
If approved, the proposed work would see a modern facility built at a site agreed by Nottinghamshire County Council, at Forest Corner in Edwinstowe. This would be followed by the removal of the current 1970's visitor centre and car parks, and that site would then be returned to nature.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager, said: "We're very happy to reach this important stage in the planning process. We hope that people will see that we've listened to and incorporated their feedback, and this planning application brings us one step closer to realising our vision for a brilliant new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest."
The plans for the new visitor centre will be available to view via the planning portal on the Newark and Sherwood District Council website:
Update July 11, 2016
RSPB-led consortium presents plans for new Sherwood Forest visitor centre
The RSPB-led consortium will be hosting a drop-in session on Monday 25 July from 5 - 8 pm, at the Edwinstowe Village Hall, to showcase plans for the proposed new Sherwood Forest visitor centre at Forest Corner.
The session will offer an opportunity for anyone interested to view plans for the new facility, prior to the planning application submission later in the summer. A full consultation as part of the Newark and Sherwood District Council's planning process will take place at a later date this summer.
A consortium led by the RSPB successfully won a bid in August last year as part of a procurement process organised by Nottinghamshire County Council to design and build the new centre and manage Sherwood Forest Country Park from early 2018.
If approved, the proposed work would see a more modern facility built at a new site close to Edwinstowe at Forest Corner. This would be followed by the removal of the current 1970's visitor centre, and that site would then be returned to nature. Sherwood Forest Fun Park, a fairground currently based at Forest Corner, would also move to an alternative location at Naish's Field, on land owned by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC).
The session on Monday 25 July, at the Village Hall, Mansfield Road, Edwinstowe, will be led by Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager, and the architects for the new visitor centre, JDDK.
Holly Booker, a new RSPB Visitor Operations Officer, has also been appointed to support the Sherwood project. The RSPB-led consortium will also have the plans on display for public view during the Robin Hood Festival, from 1 - 7 August.
Ross Frazer said: "We would like to welcome anyone interested in our plans for the new visitor centre to come along on 25 July. We are very excited about this project and the opportunities it will give us to further promote Robin Hood, continue to protect local wildlife, and continue to preserve this historic country park for future generations."
Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "It is a good opportunity for local communities to have the chance to see these plans before the RSPB-led consortium submits its planning application to Newark and Sherwood District Council."
Update February 26, 2016
Drop in sessions unveil new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre concept
Communities in the Edwinstowe and Sherwood Forest area are being invited to view concepts for a new Sherwood Forest visitor centre at Forest Corner, Edwinstowe.
Nottinghamshire County Council last year announced that a RSPB-led consortium had signed contracts to build a new visitor centre and manage the world-famous Sherwood Forest Country Park as part of a £5.3m project. The consortium comprises the RSPB, the UK's leading conservation charity, working with Thoresby Estate, Continuum Attractions and The Sherwood Forest Trust.
The concepts will be unveiled by the RSPB-led consortium at two public drop-in sessions during mid-March.
Each event will include displays of draft concepts covering the proposed visitor centre and surrounding Forest Corner.
This is a chance for the public to discuss the concepts with members of the RSPB-led consortium and its architects, JDDK Ltd.
Following these events, the RSPB-led consortium will formalise their plans ready for a planning application later in the year.
The free drop-in events (both at Forest Corner) are:
Edwinstowe Cricket Club - Saturday 19 March from 11 am to 3 pm;
Edwinstowe YHA - Tuesday 22 March from 11 am to 4 pm.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager said: "We've had a positive dialogue with the community and businesses around Edwinstowe and have taken on board the ideas and concerns expressed"
"I'm hoping that as many people as possible will come along to the drop-in events to meet our architects and project team, view the consortium's proposals and designs and continue to share their thoughts."
Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: "These sessions being organised by the RSPB and its consortium partners as they begin to develop their plans are vital to ensure local people are fully involved."
Update February 1, 2016
Topographical surveys at Forest Corner
Thank you for all the discussions we've had over the past few weeks and the positive way that you've expressed your ideas and concerns.
Our architects, Jane Derbyshire and David Kendall, have taken on board your comments and are now pulling together concept designs (draft plans) of the visitor centre and the associated infrastructure to share with you.
As soon as I have firm dates and venues for these consultations, I will publicise them widely and explain the ongoing process.
In the meantime, I wanted you to know that I have directed contractors to conduct a topographical survey of Forest Corner and Naish's field.
This survey will ensure that we have the correct information about the levels of land across the area and can make the right decisions, not just for the new building design but surrounding land and infrastructure, too.
The contractors are not RSPB-consortium or Nottinghamshire County Council staff, so will not be able to answer questions about the planning process or visitor centre.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager
Update December 22, 2015
Community invited to Sherwood Forest visitor centre drop-in events
The community around Edwinstowe and Sherwood Forest is being offered the opportunity to hear about the proposed redevelopment of the Sherwood Forest visitor centre at Forest Corner.
Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) and the RSPB-led consortium are holding two drop-in sessions on 5 and 9 January at Edwinstowe Library.
This is a chance to meet Ross Frazer, RSPB project manager and Derek Higton, NCC Service Director, Youth Families and Culture Division to discuss how the centre area will be designed and share any concerns and ideas before plans are created in early spring.
The two events are being held at Edwinstowe Library, High Street, Edwinstowe (NG21 9QS) on Tuesday 5 January from 2 pm to 5.30 pm and Saturday 9 January from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.
Ross Frazer, representing the RSPB-led consortium, said: "This is an opportunity to come and hear about the project and ask your questions before we pull together our detailed plans. Please be aware that detailed plans have not been drawn up and will not be available at these events."
You can learn more about the outline proposals by visiting Nottinghamshire County Council's website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
Update December 14, 2015
There will be public meetings (with Nottinghamshire County Council and the RSPB-led consortium) to discuss the project, and formal planning consultations will follow. Dates and locations will be published soon.
You can learn more about the outline proposals by visiting Nottinghamshire County Council's website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
Update December 10, 2015
Latest on plans for new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest
Local people are being reassured they will have their say on plans for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest.
Nottinghamshire County Council last week 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 and Thoresby Estate.
And the county council and the RSPB-led consortium will be engaging with all interested community groups, residents and local organisations with the plans for the visitor centre.
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.
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."
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.
You can learn more about the outline proposals by visiting Nottinghamshire County Council's website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
Update August 14, 2015
A consortium led by the RSPB - the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - has been named as the preferred bidder to design, build and operate a new visitor centre and to manage the stunning natural habitats within Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest Country Park.
One of the UK's leading nature conservation charities - the RSPB - has come out on top in a procurement process organised by Nottinghamshire County Council for a new visitor centre and to take on the conservation management of Sherwood Forest Country Park, which forms part of Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR).
The RSPB will lead a consortium which also features The Sherwood Forest Trust, Continuum Attractions and Thoresby Estate as part of a £5.3m investment programme.
The visitor centre will be designed and built over the coming years and will provide a completely new facility and visitor experience for the people of Nottinghamshire and beyond to enjoy and celebrate the woodland, wildlife and heritage of the site. Around 350,000 visitors visit Nottinghamshire's world-famous Sherwood Forest country park each year and the hugely successful Robin Hood Festival will again take place next year. The County Council's management contract also requires the preferred bidder to deliver on effective conservation of the country park within the wider NNR, which features England's Tree of the Year, the Major Oak.
Nottinghamshire County Council's Culture Committee discussed the options at its meeting on July 21 and today (WedAug12) the council has announced the outcome of that process. The council will now enter exclusive discussions with the preferred bidder to move towards signing final contracts which could be complete by the end of September. The County Council will remain responsible for the current visitor facilities until the new visitor centre opens at Sherwood Forest Country Park.
Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Alan Rhodes said: "A bright new chapter for Sherwood Forest country park and the legend of Robin Hood is a step closer with this announcement as we move to final contract talks with the preferred bidder."
"The RSPB has a track record in delivering award-winning visitor centres. Their bid focussed on conservation management, iconic heritage and of having expertise of successfully managing these sorts of schemes. The wider 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."
Mike Clarke, the RSPB Chief Executive said: "This is a hugely exciting project for the RSPB, and a really great opportunity to deliver a fantastic new facility at Sherwood Forest for people, communities and the forest."
"Our core charitable activity is all about managing landscapes for nature and engaging people - and we have a proven track record of delivering, to a high standard, exactly what is required from the Nottinghamshire County Council brief."
"I believe the RSPB, with its wider consortium, will be an excellent partner in this project, committed to delivering a long-term sustainable future for the National Nature Reserve and developing an exciting visitor experience for the people of Nottinghamshire and beyond."
David Parker, Acting Area Manager for Natural England 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. We look forward to working with the County Council, RSPB and others to deliver this exciting project."
Jennifer Spencer, Chief Executive of Experience Nottinghamshire said: "Sherwood Forest is already one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nottinghamshire, and is known around the world for its role in the Robin Hood legend. The RSPB led team is well placed to deliver the project, and we look forward to working with them on the promotion of the new visitor centre when it opens. It is sure to attract even more visitors to the area, while also carefully preserving the forest for future generations."
Patrick Candler, Chief Executive of the Sherwood Forest Trust said: "The Trust is delighted to be part of the consortium winning bid, where our previous work on the Sherwood National Nature Reserve and excellent track record of supporting local community nature sites is well known. We will be keen to play our part to ensure that there are great benefits for all those who visit and enjoy the wonderful forest that is Sherwood."
Nick Brown, Regional Agent for Thoresby Estate said: "As a major local landowner, including several leisure and tourism interests, Thoresby Estate is extremely keen to see a first class facility built within Sherwood Forest. The Estate also has strong conservation and heritage ethos and I am therefore confident that the RSPB led consortium will be able to deliver a superb new tourist attraction whilst ensuring the wider environment and landscape is managed to the highest standards."
Kevin Smith at Continuum Attractions said: "Continuum Attractions is delighted to be part of the RSPB-led consortium which will breathe new life into Sherwood Forest Country Park and develop a new visitor centre. The shared expertise across the consortium will deliver a sustainable future for the Sherwood Forest visitor experience."
Update October 15, 2014
Nottinghamshire County Council hopes to formally start its new search this autumn for an external partner to manage a new visitor centre and the country park at Sherwood Forest.
It is looking for a prospective partner organisation which can develop and operate a visitor centre and also be effective stewards for the country park.
The county council believes that working with an external partner can provide the most effective way forward for the future management of Sherwood Forest country park, bring in significant income for the visitor economy in Nottinghamshire, reduce revenue costs and protect the historic forest's natural environment. The county council is also proposing to increase the £1.8m already allocated to the project up to a total of £4.3m to underline its commitment to the project.
The vision is in line with the county council's Redefining Your Council strategy - ensuring we can deliver services that the people of Nottinghamshire value in a sustainable way.
The county council would begin the formal tendering process and aims to secure a partner organisation by the end of summer 2015, with a view to the new visitor centre being open to the public in summer 2017.
The Council has met a number of potential partners over the summer period through 'soft-market testing' and there has been serious interest from a variety of different organisations.
Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "The county council wants to protect, preserve and enhance the ecology and heritage of Sherwood Forest, further promote its national and international reputation and have a modern visitor offer that reflects the status of the forest and Robin Hood."
"Over the summer period, we have already had strong interest from numerous organisations about working with the county council to achieve our vision."
It is hoped there would be a 'Bidder's Day1 in November providing a briefing and information event about the council's vision, with shortlisting to take place in early 2015, followed by further dialogue with shortlisted bidders, before final tenders are produced in the summer and the final contract awarded in July or August.
The county council's Culture Committee will consider proposals to launch the formal tendering process, at its meeting on October 21.
Update May 16, 2013
Contractual negotiations are still taking place between the county council and Discovery Attractions. Both sides are working hard on the details of the contract. The site is an NNR, so a site of special scientific importance and because it is a complex proposal it is taking a little longer than first anticipated to get through this stage of the process.
After contract negotiations have concluded the next stage would be for Discovery Attractions to seek planning permission from Newark and Sherwood District Council.
However, the Marketing Director for Discovery Attractions has said this week that the project is still on track to welcome the first visitors to the attraction in 2015, as initially forecast last October.
Update October 30, 2012
Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest - the next chapter…
A £13m investment plan to create a world class Robin Hood experience and protect historic Sherwood Forest will provide a major boost for the local economy, says Nottinghamshire County Council.
Around 100 people could be employed through plans for a new Sherwood Forest Visitor attraction which will also generate huge visitor spend for the local economy and vital investment for the Forest itself. The first phase of the project which includes a brand new visitor centre, café and shop to replace the existing facilities will open in summer 2014 and the new Discover Robin Hood attraction will welcome its first visitors in spring 2015.
Nottinghamshire County Council has announced its intention to work with tourism experts from Discovery Attractions to take the legend of Robin Hood onto its next exciting chapter, while also guaranteeing continued free public access to Sherwood Forest and its ancient oaks, and preserving its unique ecology and natural surroundings.
The new attraction will be built on land acquired by the county council in 2008 opposite the existing nature reserve and visitor centre (known locally as Naish's Field), restoring the current visitor centre site and car park to the forest.
The Discovery Attractions team has a combined experience of over 100 years and an impressive track record for their contributions and involvement in world class visitor attractions in the UK.
The Discover Robin Hood proposal promises:
Coun John Cottee, Chairman for the Culture Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: "This will put Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood's legendary home back on the map."
"The County Council is committed to raising the profile of Robin and Sherwood locally, nationally and internationally whilst at the same time protecting ancient Sherwood Forest for future generations. This exciting venture will also create and sustain jobs for Nottinghamshire people."
"We hope to excite and educate visitors from all over the world. We're delighted to be working with Discovery Attractions to build a world class attraction befitting our legendary hero and his forest home."
Rob Gray, Marketing Director of Discovery Attractions said: "Robin Hood is a global brand that deserves to be celebrated, and where better to do this than at his spiritual home of Sherwood Forest. Discover Robin Hood will be the first in a series of World Class visitor attractions from Discovery Attractions, based on Britain's rich heritage of myths and legends. It will bring to life the story of Robin Hood in a way that is both entertaining and educational for kids and adults alike."
"We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside Nottinghamshire County Council and Experience Nottinghamshire to develop and operate this iconic property which will provide a real ‘wow’ factor and focus for tourism and leisure in the Nottinghamshire area."
Jennifer Spencer, Chief Executive of Experience Nottinghamshire, said: "Sherwood Forest is a place which captures the imagination of visitors in the UK and around the world. The development of this new visitor centre has the potential not only to increase visitor numbers, but also to increase the amount of time they then spend in Nottinghamshire. We welcome this investment, which will make the most of this much-loved attraction."
Bob White, Chairman, World Wide Robin Hood Society, said: "These are exciting times for everyone who loves Robin Hood and it is wonderful to hear of these plans which will bring benefits to all - and in Robin’s heartland of Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood is a powerful iconic brand and the outlaw himself would I am sure be extremely excited about what is being planned by Nottinghamshire County Council and other agencies working together on these proposals."
Celia Brooks, Chairman of Edwinstowe Parish Council said: "We welcome investment plans at Sherwood which promote the area, but at the same time protect the forest and are sympathetic to the local environment, as well as anything which can benefit the village of Edwinstowe."
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