The Real Sherwood Forest in Danger

England's Sherwood Forest, famed in the tales of Robin Hood, has dwindled in size from 100,000 acres to a core of just 450 acres and some smaller scattered patches, leaving experts fearful for the future of its ancient oak trees.

Sherwood once covered much of present-day Nottinghamshire County but today is only a fraction of its former size. Land has been cleared for farms, mines, and buildings, and climate change is believed to be a contributing factor to the forest's peril as well.

More than a dozen organizations have developed a rescue plan and are hoping to win a US$100 million grant to fund the plan.

Thanks to reader Brighid MacCumhal who contributed the link to this story.

Forest visit

I had the pleasure of visiting Sherwood Forest last summer. The beauty of the place could not be adequately described. However, a few notes: While it is a tourist attraction, much has been done to attempt to preserve what is a severely threatened area. There are walking paths with strict boundaries. Even so, it was apparent how these times have taken their toll on the forest itself. There are numerous ancient trees, mostly oak. The grand old man of the forest, Major Oak, is nearly 1000 years old. Many of the other oaks are at least 600 years old. But there is little new growth. What there is is carefully guarded at great cost. No other place like this exists in the world. England has many beautiful parks and estates. Each is carefully cultivated and created. I visited many of these. However, I was touched much more by what had been created in nature in that wonderful country. Sherwood Forest is surely one of the natural wonders of the world. I would like to know that it is still there to be remarked upon by my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I donated what I could for its preservation. I hope that many others will do the same.