Robin Hood Festival 2023: retrospective review

In this issue of Community Update, we are delighted to choose the Robin Hood Festival for our Commitment to Excellence Award.

The medieval legend of Robin Hood is known all over the world: the famous outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor and outwitted The Sherrif of Nottingham. The iconic Major Oak is the centrepiece of Sherwood Forest and is estimated to be anywhere between 800 – 1,100 years old. 

This year saw the 37th annual Robin Hood Festival- a perennial social calendar event for local residents and even sparking international interest. In the 1980’s the festival originally ran as a 7-day event but over time it was extended to incorporate more visitors over the summer holidays. This year’s event ran from 27 July- 28 August respectively, over five successive weekends. 

We asked Rob James, RSPB Communications Officer for Sherwood Forest and Budby South Forest, to assess this year’s festival,

“It’s been a fantastic success- really well attended throughout, with really positive feedback. We’ve had a variety of events such as outdoor cinema from Adventure Cinema -showing six films to over 3,000 people including the Disney and 2010 Russell Crowe versions of Robin Hood.

The Sherwood Outlaws arrived with a cross-looking Sheriff of Nottingham and invited visitors to Hunt-the-Outlaw and The Knights of Nottingham wowed the crowds with horseback jousting and combat displays. We had comedy laughter and entertainment from Medieval Maniax, popular entertainer Bill Brookman and jesters What a Palaver. 

Touring theatre company ‘This is my Theatre’ adapted the tale of Robin Hood and gave a wonderful open-air performance.”

One of the festival weekends was dedicated to the unique biodiversity of Sherwood Forest, with expert organisations such as the RSPB, Wildlife Trust, Plantlife, Maritime Archaeology and the Conservation Department of Nottingham Trent University. Sherwood Forest is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). 

The ancient oak woodland is home to hundreds of protected bird species like The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the majestic Nightjars and fascinating invertebrates such as the Darkling Beetle and Welsh Clearwing moth that enjoy the decaying wood found in the ancient oak trees. 

As well as natural history, there was living history too with the appearance of around 150 re-enactors from nine groups, recreating the 15th Century Wars of the Roses. 

The annual Robin Hood Festival is an important cultural event for the Nottinghamshire area and aims to bring the legend of Robin Hood to life in the enchanting Sherwood Forest. 

So, it was fitting that the event concluded with the Outlaws’ spectacular arena show, pitting Robin and his Merry Band against the Sheriff and his forces, and a celebration of Nottinghamshire Day at the Bank Holiday Weekend.

The 38th Robin Hood Festival is expected to take place from July-August 2024 at Sherwood Forest. There is free entry to the forest, with a special event parking charge on some Festival weekends and small costs for activities such as archery. 

For more information, see the website below:

T 01623 677 321

FB: @visitsherwood