The legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest
Stories about the adventures of Robin Hood have been told and retold for over 600 years. Robin is portrayed as a fearless outlaw leading his band of Merry Men (and women) against the tyranny of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
A brilliant archer, he lived a life of adventure stealing from the rich to give to poor and hiding out in Sherwood Forest.
The exact origins of this fabled character are unknown, but many people think the legend of Robin Hood is based on the life of Fulk FitzWarin, a Norman noble who was disinherited and became an outlaw and an enemy of John of England. In another theory he is thought to be nobleman, the Earl of Locksley, who returned the crusades to find his lands pillaged by the devious sheriff.
Robin Hood is the regional symbol of Nottinghamshire and everywhere you go in the country you’ll find reminders of our intrepid hero. Even the road signs entering the shire depict Robin Hood with his bow and arrow, welcoming people to 'Robin Hood Country’.
The first stop on your tour of Robin Hood Country has to be Sherwood Forest. The forest, known as Britain’s ‘Heart of Oak’, is characterised by wild forest glades and century-old oak trees. One of the earliest surviving written references to Robin Hood, a poem dating from around 1400, clearly associates the outlaw with the Forest:
Robin Hood in Sherwood stood,
hooded & hated and hosed and shod.
Four and twenty arrows he bore in his hands.
While you’re in Sherwood Forest, make sure you visit Major Oak. This huge oak tree is around 800 years old and according to local folklore, its hollow trunk was once Robin Hood’s secret hideout. Voted ‘Britain’s favourite tree’, this world famous oak has a trunk circumference of 10m and its branches spread to over 28m!
Nottingham was of course home to Robin’s arch enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham who worked for Prince John and terrorised the people of Nottingham. Stop by at the city’s most popular visitor attraction, Tales of Robin Hood, which lets you step back in time and join Robin on his quest against evil.
Enter a recreated Sherwood Forest where you'll have to flee from ferocious wolves and flying arrows as the castle guard and the evil sheriff chase you through the trees! But fear not as Robin and his gang are always there to protect you.
According to most legends, Robin Hood died in the gatehouse of Kirklees Priory, in West Yorkshire. According to legend, he shot an arrow from his deathbed out of the priory window and told his Merry Men to bury him wherever it landed. The arrow is said to have landed in the grounds of the priory and today you can find an elaborate grave in that spot.