The new Centre will replace the existing 1970s built one; and will be designed to provide a welcoming gateway to the major Nottinghamshire attraction, which receives around 350,000 visitors annually.
It is being built by a consortium led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), on behalf of and in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, who currently manage the site. The consortium also includes The Sherwood Forest Trust, Thoresby Estate and Continuum Attractions, together with The Woodland Trust; the latter being an associate partner which will be supporting Sherwood’s woodland management plan, and collaborating on interpretation around the Forest’s famous Major Oak.
Funding for the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre will include £4million from Nottinghamshire County Council, £500,000 via D2N2’s Local Growth Fund allocation (subject to the project’s business plan), £200,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and £40,000 from the Supporting Local Communities Fund.
Consortium partners saw the new Centre’s foundations laid on site yesterday (October 3); at Forest Corner, in the south-east corner of Sherwood Forest. The current ‘Robin Hood’ was also present, as were children from the nearby St Mary’s primary school.
D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary services representatives which promotes economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. It’s economic strategy includes having eight key sectors – ones where the D2N2 area already has or could develop an advantage over rival areas – one of which is the Visitor Economy, including tourism.
The new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre will include information about Robin Hood and his legend (pictured above, photo courtesy Visit Nottinghamshire), and on the wealth of wildlife and woodland in the area. Its facilities will include a shop and a café, with an outside terrace and amphitheatre, and new play area.
Ross Frazer, RSPB Project Manager, said: “We’re so excited to start work at the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. It’s a privilege to be custodians of the Robin Hood legacy, to continue the traditions of this ancient legend and to tell it afresh to new generations.
“For the RSPB and our partners, we couldn’t be more proud to be involved in this fantastic landscape, which we hope to protect and conserve for many years to come.
“Around 350,000 people visit this world-famous site each year. With the help of our new centre, we want to inspire them to enjoy and celebrate Sherwood’s magical woodland, wildlife and enviable heritage.”
Councillor John Handley, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We’re delighted to continue to be part of this iconic forest, and of a new era for Sherwood – for Robin Hood, local communities and for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to explore this historic site each year. This new modern centre will be wonderful for everyone and will bring a real boost to the visitor economy.”
The new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre is due to open in summer 2018. Contractors on the project are Robert Woodhead, with project delivery through Scape Venture and Kartar Consulting providing quantity surveying services.
Once the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre is complete, the current 1970s built one and its car parks will be demolished and the site returned to nature.
As well as the new Visitor Centre, the partnership will also manage the ancient woodland within Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR); which contains almost 1,000 ancient oaks, the highest density in Western Europe, many of them more than 500 years old.
For more information on the project and artist’s impressions of the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre see its website at www.visitsherwood.co.uk
Media requiring more information about the work of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 LEP Communications Manager, on 0115 957 8749 or email: email@example.com