35) Sherwood Forest, RSPB, Edwinstowe, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG21 9RN.
Visitors can cover as many miles here as they and the equipment can handle.
My route was 5.77 miles and commences from the main car park, takes in a large part of the beautiful ancient forest- the Major Oak , the Wildwood Trail and part of the Giants Trail.
Starts off on tarmac and path, then wide woodland dirt path. Some slightly narrower woodland and grass sections, compacted gravel.
Some undulating sections - but nothing huge hill wise, more steady inclines...
Lots of wide trails suitable for most wheelchairs - powered wheeled users would lap up many miles with lots of routes to investigate.
Very fit manual self propelling wheelchair users could manage much of the route - with a little assistance on short sections.
No stiles - except for optional footpaths for the more able visitor. As I am fully wheelchair dependant I did not explore these. A few gates - but these have bridleway style long handle latches that I could manage on my own, the gates swing both ways and where easy to operate for myself.
Facilities on site:
Large car park that is across a road (zebra crossing and drop kerbed) from the forest, but also a disabled car park by the actual RSPB visitor centre itself.
The site is now managed by the RSPB and parking & admission is free to members. If you are not a member then you would need to pay for car-parking. Blue Badge holders may be exempt but I was not able to check during our visit.
Excellent disabled toilets and general facilities, shop and at the time of our visit a few outdoor vendors selling food and drinks. Virus control is excellent and well managed.
Dogs are permitted. You can also take and use your own pedal cycles.
Visitors can collect a map at the visitor centre - or take a picture with a smartphone before you set off.
Sherwood Forest is one of the oldest natural forests in Britain, indeed it remains one if not the best place in Europe to see ancient Oaks. There are approx 1000 Oak tree's in the forest. Much of the original forest has been lost - Oak from this forest has been used for centuries in such as St Pauls Cathedral, wooden ships of Nelson's navy, and in so many historic places throughout the UK.
The Major Oak - is between 800 and 1000 years old, it is more than 10m wide - with a full canopy of 28m.
It is linked to the fabled - perhaps true , or fictional character Robin Hood! The Major Oak started to collapse under its own weight - the victorians placed support structures for its heavy limbs to prevent this.
It truly is a wonder - consider the history, life and changes that have occurred since this tree was a little sapling.
The forest grew after the ice age and has links as a Royal Hunting forest. Red Deer are still present but shy.
As the forest is so dense the forest was also used for ammunition factories, after the Second World War (1950's) these were rediscovered - leading to a huge amount of life munitions being removed and made safe.
The whole forest is rich in fauna- fungi, insect and invertebrates. Bats, Owls, and many species of birds.
All varieties of woodpecker, Nightjar, cuckoo, Siskin, Goshawk, and a good small mammal presence.
I really am glad I have visited this historic, rich and precious location.