Last October I was pleased to visit Sherwood Forest clothed in its glorious autumn colours, and to hear about the brilliant campaign which Nottinghamshire Ramblers is running to reclaim the lost and secret paths in the area—the Sherwood Wayfinder Campaign.
Led by Steve Parkhouse and Chris Thompson, the Ramblers are doing a fine job researching evidence for paths which ought to be on the definitive map and which, once publicised, will make a huge difference for walkers, riders, cyclists and carriage drivers visiting this forgotten part of England. These routes help to unlock the secrets of Sherwood Forest.
I walked one of them, from the ancient Parliament Oak near King’s Clipstone, south along New Buildings Drive towards the River Maun, a pleasant, wide lane, which clearly should be recorded as a highway. This route links with others—some definitive, others not—which make interesting and enjoyable circular routes, of value to local people and visitors.
Sherwood Forest is an unsung area, yet its potential for recreation and enjoyment is vast. By claiming routes to make the forest more accessible, the Ramblers are also contributing to the economy of an area which has suffered from unemployment following the collapse of the mining industry. Walkers spend money: they want to stay in local accommodation and eat in local pubs. The path claims will help to make the area an attractive holiday destination beyond Centre Parcs.
So this campaign should resonate with the politicians: it’s celebrating localism and aims to improve the economy. We need to ensure we have riders’ and cyclists’ organisations on board too. I wish Notts Ramblers every success and look forward to walking some newly-claimed paths in Sherwood Forest.