Its summer, and time for wandering – Kellie Elmore
Summer feels to me like a time of sunshine streaming through the windows as the whooshing of the waves are carried on the early morning breeze, whilst the singing of the birds accompany my morning cup of coffee. Here in England our summers have been painted by a different brush and we have adjusted to the lack of a warm Sunshine Coast lifestyle by exploring the English countryside. The pleasant difference here is seen in the green lush fields, a far cry from the dry, crispy leaves that cruch underfoot, and the threat of fires are far away.
Certainly the idea of travelling abroad was a tempting thought now that travel is begining to open with the success of the vaccine program across the Unitied Kingdom and much of Europe. There is still a risk of travelling to a “green” country only to have the status change before returning, so exploring our UK back garden has been our focus this summer and we’ve had some great experiences so far.
Summer is kind of a big deal here in England, probably because the winter and autumn can be bitterly cold and a little dreary so summer comes with a plethora of family activities. End of summer is often lovely to holiday as many are often back home and gearing up for the return to school, meanwhile we choose that time to start our holiday. Sherwood Forest was a side trip on our way home, and very much a pleasant and unexpected surprised.
Sherwood Forest is the home of Robin Hood, the folklore character known for making monkey of the law to help those less fortunate along with his merry men reportedly in the 1300’s. Many of us feel a sense of loyalty for characters like Robin Hood and his ideals of standing up against tyranny with courage and even a little mischievous attitude.
It appears the forest is home to plenty of activities to get all visitors involved including kids and families. There is an opportunity to try the Wild Challenge, guided walks, and varied tracks for either walks or cycling. There is reasonably priced parking nearby, a cute little arts and crafts area with boutique shops just outside, and inside the park is a cafe with gift shop and toilets. The site pays hommage to this and this Summer it was Robin Hood and his Merry Men on show at the site including archery, and a working reenactment of the story of Robin Hood complete with displays and sword-fights around the majestic Great Oak.
The Great Oak stands proudly at the centre of it all and is the crowning glory of the 375 hectare site, and is reported to be over 1000 years old, and the forest that surrounds it is home to a vast array of equally ancient oak trees. It stands to reason that the Great Oak and its heavy and gnarled branches require some support after years of visitors and its sheer age. When you visit you will see it fenced off (done in the 1970’s) to protect its impacted roots and to prevent any further damage, its important as ethical tourists to respect this boundary for the longevity of this grand tree.
Walking through the forest the smell of the moist air and the feel of old bark underneath your palms feel awe-inspiring and we took the time to just stop, breathe, listen, and take in all that was around us. We felt honoured to have visited such a beautiful part of nature and would encourage you to also enjoy this incredible place just a short drive from the Peak District and Sheffield.
Have you got a favourite forest? Share in the comments below…