Natural England - Sherwood Forest NNR

Sherwood Forest NNR

The NNR comprises the ancient forests of Birklands and Budby South. The name Birklands comes from the Viking phrase 'birch land' and the forest is thought to be over a thousand years old. Budby South Forest is an open uncultivated heathland reminiscent of the landscapes which were formerly much more extensive across Sherwood.

Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI

County: Nottinghamshire

Main habitats: Wood Pasture, Lowland Heath

Area: 423.6 ha

Download a leafletexternal link describing this reserve.

Although most NNRs are managed by Natural England, 88 are wholly or partly managed by other bodies approved by Council, under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The Sherwood Forest reserve is managed by Nottinghamshire County Councilexternal link and Forest Enterprise, in partnership with Defence Training Estate and the Thoresby Estate.

Once part of the ten-thousand acre Royal Forest of Sherwood, the woodland is dominated by native oaks and other native trees such as silver birch, rowan, holly and hawthorn.

The reserve contains more than a thousand ancient oaks most of which are known to be more than five hundred years old. The most famous of these, the Major Oak, may be nearly twice that age.

The forest is home to approximately a thousand beetle and spider species - many of which are rare - and over two-hundred species of fungi have been recorded. Local birdlife includes the great-spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker, tawny owl, redstart and nightjar. The area also supports a number of bat species, including the noctule.

Large tracts of dry sandy heathland, dominated by heather, gorse and bracken, were once widespread across the great Forest of Sherwood and important remnants of this landscape are found on Budby South Forest and other open areas of the NNR. The heathland is important for a range of characteristic breeding birds such as the tree pipit and woodlark and also has a rich invertebrate fauna.

Location and access

Sherwood Forest NNR is 25 km north of Nottingham and 4 km west of New Ollerton.

We encourage the use of sustainable transport whenever possible.

By cycle

The reserve is near Route 6external link of the Sustrans National Cycle Network and near a major trail, the Robin Hood Way.

By train

The nearest train station is in Mansfield Woodhouseexternal link, 8 km to the south west.

By bus

For details of bus services to the reserve go to the Nottingham County Council journey plannerexternal link.

By car

Road access is from the B6034 (via the A616 or A6075). The site has a visitor centre with car parking.

Please note: part of the NNR at Budby South Forest is mapped as Open Access Land. To protect sensitive ground-nesting birds whilst visiting this area, dogs must be kept on a lead between 1 March and 31 July, or at any other time near livestock. Elsewhere, please keep dogs under close control at all times.


The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are at the reserve's visitor centre which also has facilities for the disabled. Those wishing to hire wheelchairs or a PMV (personal mobility vehicle) should book in advance.

For more information on disabled access go to the Nottingham County Council website.