National Character Area 49

Sherwood - Summary and Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity


The Sherwood National Character Area (NCA) is a long band of gently rolling hills. It is located to the north of Nottingham. It sits on an outcrop of sandstone rock.

In the past the area was managed as woodland and it is still well wooded today. The oak and birch wood grazing land in the heartland of Sherwood Forest is important to the sense of place. More recent pine forestry also adds to the sense of place. Other key features are large estate parklands, heathland, open farmland (crops) and a strong mining history. The area contains the settlements of Mansfield, Worksop, Retford and Ollerton around its fringes. It sits on an aquifer that provides water to the area.

Sherwood supports oak woodland and invertebrates which are of world-wide importance. The area also supports groups of farmland birds which are nationally important. Sherwood has strong cultural links with Robin Hood, which helps to attract around one million visitors per year to the forest.

Recent change to the landscape includes forestry removal and an increase in areas of heathland. Work to protect historic features has been carried out, particularly on former industrial sites. Hedge size has increased, mainly through current agri-environment schemes. High recreation use in protected areas is a challenge. Other issues include soil erosion in farmed areas where there are crops and taking too much water from the aquifer. Opportunities include the restoration of run-down landscapes.

Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity (SEO)

See the Statements of Environmental Opportunity section for more details on the headlines listed below.


Protect, enhance and promote Sherwood as a landscape of international environmental and cultural significance by securing and expanding the iconic mosaic of woods, heaths and parklands, and enhancing sustainable recreation and cultural opportunities.


Promote sustainable agricultural practices to help protect the major underlying aquifer, manage issues with soil erosion in Sherwood and increase farmland birds.


Integrate new green infrastructure and conservation of historic features into the redevelopment of derelict land to establish high quality characteristic local environments.