Sherwood Forest is a Royal Forest in Nottinghamshire, England, that is famous through its historical association with the legend of Robin Hood. Continuously afforested since the end of the Ice Age, Sherwood is today reduced to a 165 square miles (423 square kilometre) remnant surrounding the village of Edwinstowe, the site of Thoresby Hall. The wooded forest of today is a remnant of a much larger royal hunting Forest, named as the "shire wood" of Nottinghamshire, which in fact extended into several neighbouring counties (shires), bordered on the west along the River Erewash and the Forest of East Derbyshire.
The Forestry Commission manages most of the forest and provides walks and trails and a host of other activities Part of the forest was opened as a country park to the public in 1969 by Nottinghamshire County Council, which manages a small part the forest under lease from the Thoresby Estate. In 2002, part of Sherwood Forest was designated a National Nature Reserve by English Nature. In 2007 Natural England officially incorporated the Budby South Forest, Nottinghamshire's largest area of dry lowland heath, into the Nature Reserve, nearly doubling its size. Some portions of the forest still retain many very old oaks, especially in the portion known as the Dukeries, south of the town of Worksop, which was so called because it used to contain five ducal residences in proximity to one another. The River Idle, a tributary of the Trent, is formed in Sherwood Forest from the confluence of several minor streams.
Sherwood Forest attracts 500,000 tourists annually, including many from around the world. Visitor numbers have seen a significant increase since the launch of the BBC's Robin Hood TV series in 2006.
The park hosts the annual Robin Hood Festival for a week each summer. This event recreates a medieval atmosphere and features the major characters from the Robin Hood legend. The week's entertainment includes jousters and strolling players, dressed in medieval attire, in addition to a medieval encampment complete with jesters, musicians, rat-catchers, alchemists and fire eaters.
Nottinghamshire County Council led a partnership which put in an unsuccessful bid for £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks competition. The project was selected by Big Lottery Fund assessors as one of four finalists.