Plans to maximise the Sherwood Forest visitor offer in developmentPosted on: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
A masterplan that outlines transformational objectives and a strategy for delivery to maximise the Sherwood Forest visitor offer is being developed by Newark and Sherwood District Council and partner organisations.
The proposals outlined in the masterplan will address the gap between expectations and the reality for visitors at Sherwood Forest, including the Robin Hood experience. The plan focuses on the development of Forest Corner, an area immediately north of Edwinstowe village, which acts as the primary entrance point to Sherwood Forest.
Work on the masterplan and developing Forest Corner began in 2019. An online public consultation on draft proposals took place in July 2020. However, the priority of supporting Covid recovery meant that conversations with partners and the community stalled until September 2022. Since then, the District Council has been working closely with partners, particularly Nottinghamshire County Council and the RSPB, to develop a strong consensus on the changes that are desirable for the area, both short and long-term.
Objectives included in the masterplan will consist of creating a sense of arrival and destination, providing better connectivity to Edwinstowe High Street, developing the Robin Hood visitor offer, increasing visitor volume and dwell time and enabling logic and flow to the visitor journey through Sherwood Forest.
The masterplan will also seek to address traffic flow issues, considering how to mitigate negative impacts on the village and expanding the range of current businesses catering to visitors and giving them an enhanced presence within the core visitor flow.
Development in the area will bring growth to the visitor economy, creating local jobs, increased visitor spending and opportunities for new skills. Following a recent visit to Edwinstowe, recommendations on strengthening the local economy from the High Street Task Force will inform the strategy.
The Council recognises the huge value of the natural environment and remains committed to working with RSPB to ensure any changes will help to conserve and enhance the natural habitat. This will also bring further potential for training and jobs within environmental sectors where future demand is set to outstrip supply.
Councillor Rhona Holloway, Portfolio Holder of Economic Development and Visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I welcome the news that work surrounding the development and enhancement of the Forest Corner area of Sherwood Forest is progressing. As an internationally recognised landmark, we must ensure that the area provides the best possible visitor experience for tourists worldwide and works for our local community and the residents of Edwinstowe village. Not every Council in the country can brag that they are the home of Robin Hood after all! We must maximise the potential of this area as much as possible!
“I look forward to reading the masterplan and the needed, tangible, deliverable and transformational proposals in full in the coming months.”
Following further work with partners, the fully developed masterplan is expected to return to Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Cabinet for consideration in summer 2023. It will also set out a route for short and long-term changes, including any further consultation and engagement that will be required.
In addition, a year-one allocation of Shared Prosperity Funding has been used to commission additional traffic survey information in liaison with Nottinghamshire County Council. This will provide baseline data against which alternative proposals to develop and coordinate a wider offer for Sherwood Forest can be modelled and assessed.