Sherwood Forest, a 450-acre country park, is home to the well-loved veteran oak tree, the Major Oak which is known throughout the world for its connection to Nottinghamshire’s legendary hero Robin Hood.
This giant tree, with a waistline of 35 ft, a height of 52 feet and weighing an estimated 23 tons, has been here for about 800-1000 years. The exact age of this magnificent tree can only be estimated. Its huge size is a clue, and yet at the same time as some oaks grow faster than others, the enormous trunk conceals the real answer. Its large canopy, the leaves and branches, with a spread of 92 ft points to it being a tree that has grown up with little or no competition from oaks nearby. This has allowed the large branches and network of leaves to spread out. Its huge trunks forming as the tree demands food, water and structured support which increased during its continued growth, as it still does today.
Sherwood Forest is located near the village of Edwinstowe, in north Nottinghamshire. Legend has it that the Major Oak not only provided Robin Hood with shelter, it was also the place where he and his Merry Men slept.
Today, there is a fence around the famous tree in order to prevent visitors’ feet from compressing the ground over the tree’s roots. This will ensure that the tree stays healthy for many years to come, and visitors worldwide can enjoy the legend of Robin Hood.
- The earliest recorded name for the Oak was the Cockpen Tree, dating back to the mid-18th century. The tree became better known as The Major Oak after it was described in 1790 by local historian, Major Hayman Rooke
- Over 600,000 people visit the Major Oak each year
- The tree is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old
The Major Oak, circa 1900