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Tours > Robin Hood's Nottingham > The Major Oak

The Major Oak
A short walk west of the Sherwood Forest Visitors' Centre (621679)

The Major Oak, Sherwood Forest According to 18th century accounts, Robin Hood and his outlaws often gathered at what is now called the 'Major Oak' to plan their ambushes and later celebrate a good day's thieving. It's hollow trunk made a superb hiding place and the outlaws would jump inside whenever the Sheriff of Nottingham's rode by. This excellent example of a great forest oak tree is certainly several hundred years old, but may have only been an acorn in Robin's day. It is now well protected behind a fence and wearily rests on wooden crutches, attracting thousands of visitors every year. It is reached along a short path form the Sherwood Forest Visitors' Centre.

The tree is named after Major Hayman Rooke who lived at Woodhouse Place in Mansfield Woodhouse during the 1780s. He was an expert on the archaeology and natural history of Sherwood Forest and published two booklets on the forest trees. The Major Oak was always his favourite. The tree has also been known as the 'Queen Oak' for it is the monarch of the forest. In the 19th century, it was commonly called the 'Cockpen Tree' as game birds were kept in wicker baskets in its open interior and made to fight in a cockpit below its branches.

Next Stop: Robin Hood's Larder, Birklands

Click to review The History of Robin Hood

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