Historic Nottinghamshire Guide
by Ben Johnson
Welcome to Nottinghamshire, home to the legend of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve is where you will find the world famous Major Oak, still producing acorns and reputedly over 800 years old! Once a royal hunting forest, Sherwood is the legendary home of Robin Hood and each year in August a five day festival is held to celebrate this famous outlaw.
Another Nottinghamshire country park is Clumber Park near Worksop, which boasts acres of parkland, heathland and woodland, as well as a magnificent lake. Once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, the house was demolished in 1938 but the Gothic-style chapel remains. The estate is now in the care of the National Trust. Also near Worksop you will find Creswell Gorge and Caves, once home to Ice Age settlers.
The area near Worksop is known as The Dukeries and refers to the great estates of four dukes: Clumber, as mentioned above; Thoresby Hall, now a hotel; Welbeck Abbey, open to visitors; and Worksop Manor, a seat of the Dukes of Norfolk.
The 12th century castle at Newark is worth a visit, as is the Norman castle in the county town of Nottingham, world famous for the manufacture of lace. Nottingham is also home to The Galleries of Justice Museum which offers a unique insight into crime and punishment. Or you can explore the City of Caves in Westfield Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, an unlikely place to start your tour of the original sandstone caves and Anglo-Saxon tunnels that lie under the city!
The Nottingham Goose Fair is believed to date back to the 13th century. Taking place during the first week in October, hundreds of geese were assembled here to be sold and then walked all the way to London in time to fatten up for Christmas. The fair is still held today, but without the geese!
There are some wonderful historic buildings in the county. Magnificent Southwell Minster, the Cathedral of Nottinghamshire is one of England’s finest medieval churches. Stunning Newstead Abbey, formerly a 12th century Augustinian priory, is the ancestral home of the romantic poet Lord Byron.