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Robin Hood Days
"Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day."
~ Sherwood, Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
Summer is a time for many festivals and fairs devoted to the legend of Robin Hood, long associated with Sherwood Forest, a royal forest in Nottinghamshire, England. Interestingly, according to early ballads, the setting of Robin Hood's adventures was not actually Sherwood Forest, but in Barnsdale Forest, in South Yorkshire! Over time, however, the legend became more closely associated with Sherwood, a royal forest with strict laws and extreme penalties governing cutting down trees or hunting the king's deer. For the common folk, being shut out of this prime hunting ground and the severity of the associated laws most likely bolstered the idea of its association with the famous outlaw. Sherwood Forest is home to the famous Major Oak, which, according to local folklore, was Robin and his Merry Men's principal hideout. The oak tree is between 800 and 1,000 years old! 🌳🌲🌳🌲🌳
Amongst other claimants, Nottinghamshire is generally thought to have been the likely home of the outlaw who inspired the legend of Robin Hood, "who stole from the rich to give to the poor." Neighbouring counties Yorkshire and Leicestershire also claim historical links to Robin and his Merry Men.
Sherwood Forest, a royal forest in Nottinghamshire, is home to the famous Major Oak, which, according to local folklore, was Robin Hood's principal hideout and shelter where he and his Merry Men slept. The English oak tree (Quercus robur) is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and, since the Victorian era, its limbs have been partially supported by an elaborate system of scaffolding. It is one of nearly 997 ancient oaks within the Sherwood Forest country park and yield up to 150,000 acorns!
This tartan, by designer Carol A.L. Martin, illustrates the legendary forest in its rich autumn colours.
For more on the famous Major Oak tree, click the painting by Edmund George Warren, of Robin and his Merry Men underneath the giant oak, 1859.