We’d arrived in the morning, it was grey and a little misty and autumn had claimed most of the leaves on the floor.
Me and my brother changed our trainers for brown leather hiking boots which meant wearing thick woolen socks to make sure we didn’t get blisters (didn’t always work).
Mum opened the lunch box and gave me and my brother a ham sandwich each. Dad cracked open the brown thermos and poured us a cup of vegetable soup. Once ready, we got our bikes unloaded and me and my brother tore off, mud flying by the sides of us, the winter breeze hitting us in the face and the smell of mulch in the air…
Is one of my coherent memories from my childhood of going to Sherwood Forest. I hadn’t been for decades and in all the six years of living in Nottingham, I haven’t been there once. Until today.
Photo by locksley2010
Me, Mum and Dad went there for a walk, because that’s what we used to do. And we like going for walks in the country or any woodland to be fair.
This time around, it was the end of winter and we had no soup, sandwiches or bmx’s. There were blue skies, sunshine and lots of birds.
“There’s a lot of birds, well it is ‘t’woods in’t it?” Said Dad in his Yorkshire accent which, I’m afraid to say I’ve lost touch with and had to get both parents to repeat what they had said numerous times. Been away from Sheffield too long, I have. Dad was right though, there were a lot out on the bird tables now in place: Coalmine tits, Great tits, Blue tits (Meantam Gorm in Cymraeg), Robins, and some speckled species I’m not familiar with. Even the pigeons looked… well, healthy. “What’s tha’ there, a pigeon?”
“Yes, Dad. A clean one.”
Photo of sculptured wood by locksley2010.
The bird tables were made from the wood of the forest, in fact it looked like Sherwood Forest had gone eco: flattened paths, grazing areas, natural habitats, dead trees left bare because they support life systems of their own (insect nests, animals, bacteria, that kind of thing). Many of the smaller tree stumps were carved into all kinds of shapes and designs. Many dormant trees showed their wonky beautiful shapes:
Wonky Trees by locksley2010
Herne’s Head by locksley2010
In fact, where the Herne’s Head Tree was, I remember a huge fallen tree showing all of its roots being around there, me and my brother used to have to get off our bikes to go around it.
We didn’t go to the Major Oak, personally I think it should be left to fall and die like it wants to instead of being kept up just for tourists.
Sherwood Forest was very different from the 20+ years ago since I last went, but I am glad it is being looked after and that it encourages eco living and working with your environment. There are even notice boards educating about local wildlife and plants, apparently Sherwood Forest is even home to a spider that has only its Latin name. Me and Mum thought it should be called the ‘Fly Agaric Spider’ due to its abdomen… and a play on words.
And I didn’t mention Robin Hood once… bollocks!
Photo by locksley2010