As I was running ahead of time when returning to the airport after my recent trip to Yorkshire, I decided to take a break in my journey at an interesting spot en route. Seeing the signs from the motorway to Sherwood Forest, I decided to divert to the visitor centre, take a stroll through the woods and and see the famous “Major Oak”.
The forest, which was originally just a tiny part of the massive forests covering much of Britain, is now sadly reduced to just a thousand acres. Amongst the trees is one in particular which became famous many years ago: the Major Oak is commonly believed to be the massive tree at which Robin Hood met his band of fellow outlaws. The visit was well worthwhile, being such a famous spot, but the facts noted in the adjacent information panels led to disappointment. The semi-hollow tree, now supported like a multi-limbed old man, although hundreds of years old, is in fact too young to have been this kind of size at the time when Robin Hood was supposed to have taken refuge inside it. The assertion that the original tree would have been similar and “nearby” seems to be more of a hopeful wish from the marketeers than any kind of fact.
Still, the walk through the woods was lovely in the spring sunshine, and I delighted in the hollowed-out oaks and the copses of my favourite tree: the silver birch.