Sherwood Pines: Nottinghamshire’s Haven for Outdoor Activities
Right in the heart of Robin Hood Country lies Sherwood Pines, a forest park close to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. It is the largest forest and park with public access in the East Midlands. It covers a huge 3,300 acres and offers a large variety of outdoor activities.
Sherwood Pines History
The forest used to be part of the ancient Sherwood Forest that originally went by the name Clipstone Heath. The Forestry Commission, set up in 1919 by the government, obtained a 999 year-long lease and replanted the area with pine trees and renamed it Sherwood Pines.
Outdoor Activities in Sherwood Pines
There is a vast array of outdoor activities to do in Sherwood Pines.
Walking and Running
There are lots of different walking routes for different abilities in Sherwood Pines. The Dragonfly trail is a flat and easy walk that goes through all of the children’s play areas. The Nightjar train is a relaxing, peaceful walk that starts by following the Dragonfly Trail but then goes through various forest habitats.
There is a weekly Parkrun at Sherwood Pines and there is also a 5km running route, which goes along mixed terrain that can get muddy.
Nordic Walking is suitable for all fitness levels and all ages. It exercises the whole body but goes easy on the joints. It burns 20 to 40% more calories than typical walking.
If there’s a great place for cycling in Nottinghamshire, Sherwood Pines is it. There are various different trails for different types of rider.
Adventure cycle trail
This is an off-road family route that is circular. It is six miles in length and is ideal for intermediate riders. You will be cycling on natural terrain which incorporates fast corners and uneven surfaces.
The Kitchener trail
This trail gets its name from the famous WWI General Lord Kitchener. It is a 13km-long track that goes through pine and broadleaf woodland, as well as clear, fell sites and heathland.
Family cycling route
This is a 5km circular route that is child-friendly. It begins at the Visitors Centre and goes through the woodland along with the all-weather network. It takes around an hour to complete and is great for younger children or new cyclists. There are picnic benches along the trail too.
Bike Park and skills loop
There are two different zones in the bike park: the downhill zone and the dirt jump zone.
The downhill zone has four downhill runs with a series of jumps and rock drops. The dirt jump zone has a linear pump track and a series of jumps with different grades.
This is a small area which is great for practising your cycling skills. It is safe and free of traffic.
If you want to take advantage of the cycling opportunities at Sherwood Pines but don’t have a bike, you can hire one.
There are a variety of bushcraft activities on offer at Sherwood Pines, including courses, residentials and events. You can try your hand at fire lighting, shelter building, traditional woodworking, willow weaving and tool use.
Segways are a great way to see the forest! The route is a circular one that takes around an hour and has a mix of wide straight tracks as well as twisting trails.
This popular section of Sherwood Pines has lots to offer. Go Ape is a great combination of intricate crossings, wobbly bridges and zip wires at the treetops.
Orienteering is fun for all of the family. You navigate your way between points using an orienteering map.
Sherwood Pines also has a Visitor Centre, café and toilets. The Sherwood Pines Café has a good range of locally-sourced food and drinks.
There is a short walk through the woods that leads to Robin Hood’s Hideout, which has been listed as a top ten English natural play spot. There is a sand play village too.
For young children, the Zog trail is excellent. There are trail markers that go through the woods so you can find the much-loved characters from the Julia Donaldson book of the same name. Children can collect stars along the way, just like Zog does in the story.
There are lots of events and even concerts organised in Sherwood Pines too.
You can even stay at Sherwood Pines. There are lots of cabins dotted around the heart of the forest, which are run by Forest Holidays. Camping is also going to be an option from the spring of 2020. Sherwood Pines will be a fantastic camping ground for those who love the forest experience.
There really is something for everyone at Sherwood Pines. For Nottinghamshire residents, and even those further afield, it really is the perfect place to spend a day in the great outdoors, whatever the weather.