Thursday’s Special: An Outlaw’s Hiding Place

This week’s ‘Thursday’s Special’ is a challenge dedicated to the past. Paula says, “It can be a past that is abandoned and about to be forgotten, or past that is still functional and intertwined with present.

On our recent visit to England, I revisited a place not far from my home town, which brought back fond memories of my childhood. Sherwood Forest was a favourite place for weekend outings with my parents and sister, and in those days there was no entrance fee or protection of this now world famous tree, ‘Robin Hood’s Major Oak’.


As a child, I really believed the legends surrounding this amazing tree which is thought to be almost 1,000 years old. As my sister and I climbed around inside the hollow trunk which has a girth ofΒ  33 ft (10 m), I used to imagine Robin Hood and his Merry Men, together with the fair Maid Marion, hiding themselves there from the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham and his cruel henchmen. I remember that there were shelves inside the trunk, where the intrepid outlaws were supposed to have stored their food provisions.


Nowadays, it’s fenced off from the public and supported with an impressive network of scaffolding, which I suppose isΒ  very necessary for its preservation, but somewhat disappointing to the child still in me, who was longing to run across and touch this wonderful old tree and to feel the thrill of being inside that old tree trunk once more.


94 comments on “Thursday’s Special: An Outlaw’s Hiding Place

  1. I’ve never seen this mighty oak Sylvia … but it really deserves a day trip I think to see it sometime . I shall imagine you and your sister up to high jinks within its boughs πŸ˜€

  2. Sylvia, I love ancient trees! This is one mighty oak! Your being able to bring forth tales of Robin Hood and your childhood place within the branches of this tree is mighty special. My name is Robin so I have believed in Robin Hood yet have not gone so far as believing in Batman’s side kick, Robin. πŸ™‚

  3. Amazing tree. I know what you mean about everything being labelled and fenced off. Its quite a challenge now to even take a picture without a load of signs for cafes and car parks intruding…..

  4. What a grand old tree, and how many stories it must have. I can understand the scaffold/fences as otherwise it would be loved to death, but still a pity that todays children can’t have the wonderful experiences you had.

  5. I hate the props and supports. The tree has done for 1000 years without them, for Pete’s … er, Robin’s … sake! Bits galore would have fallen off it in the past. So what? Leave it natural, sez I.
    What a thrill to have played there. It is like wandering freely at Stonehenge – now one pays one’s money and still can’t get really close.

    • Me too. I was shocked when I took our son to see the tree about 28 years ago, and saw the ugly props all around it. I’d told him all about playing inside it, and all he could do was have a photo taken outside the fence. 😦 Stone Henge isn’t worth queuing up to see these days. It’s just a money making racket. You can’t get anywhere near the stones.

  6. I used to play in this tree too Sylvia. We lived in nearby Retford when I was small and spent many a Sunday in Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest. I loved the ‘Robin Hood’ tree and although children can no longer play in it I am glad it is being looked after in its ‘old age’ πŸ˜€

  7. Oaks are my favourite trees. In one of my novels, I’ve a whole chapter dedicated to an oak, as seen through the eyes of a boy of 11 — and it’s a hollow oak. These trees support such an incredibly rich variety of life. They’re an entire ecosystem.

  8. It’s too bad that so many things now have to be “look but don’t touch.” I feel fortunate that I grew up in the time that I did when all this stuff was still available for a first hand experience!

  9. Wow, that’s amazing Sylvia, I have to tell you, I never knew that place really existed , seeing in in movies or tv, or even reading the stories, I just thought it was all made up, so thank you for sharing, and enlightening me;)

    • Thanks so much, Kathy. Glad I could enlighten you on the subject. πŸ™‚ There was also another hollow tree trunk a bit further away, called Robin Hood’s Larder, where he and his merry men were supposed to have hung the venison which they stole from the king. I think it succumbed to gales in the 1960’s, but we used to play in that too. πŸ™‚

  10. Now that must have been quite a disappointment Sylvia. Luckily you have all the best memories of this beautiful tree and its history. It sure is a beauty. Great share and photos. πŸ˜€ β™₯

  11. Impressive looking tree! now, I think it may be older than 1000 years old! I hope it will stay like that…thank you for sharing your sweet childhood memories, it must be fun to play around there πŸ™‚

  12. Quite the legendary tree, Sylvia, and that you got to revisit it. Looks like the preservationists are doing their best. Are there any historical markers or plaques that are there?

  13. Thank goodness for great memories. I’ve visited a few spots from my childhood, some seem so small and unimpressive, others more commercialized. Robin Hood’s Major Oak looks like it’s remained the same, still majestic……except for the scaffolding.

  14. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past 03 | Lost in Translation

  15. I understand why it is fenced. It is a treasure and should be kept among us as long as possible. What an amazing trace from the past Sylvia. I have never expected anything this glorious. This post has made me happy πŸ™‚

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