Sherwood Forest has always played an important part in shaping the culture and lives of people in Ollerton and the surrounding villages.
From way back at the time of Anglo-Saxon settlement, the sandy acidic soils of the sparsely-populated Sherwood Forest area were unproductive for agriculture, supporting only the growth of plants such as birches, oaks, and heather. However, the Forest became valued as an important hunting area and, at the time of the Norman invasion, was established as a 'Royal Forest'. At this time Rufford Abbey also became an important monastic centre.
Over the centuries that followed, Sherwood Forest was carved up by nobility who set up their states in what they saw as their woodland playground. For this reason, part of the area is known as 'The Dukeries' and encompasses estates such as Clumber, Rufford and Welbeck.
Of course, the legend of Robin Hood is celebrated throughout the whole area, with Edwinstowe in particular being famous as 'Robin Hood's village'. At the heart of the village you will find a statue of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The 'Robin Hood Festival' is an annual event visited by thousands of people.
The rich mineral deposits created by thousands of years of prehistoric forest led to the development of coal mining in the area. This was to change Ollerton and Edwinstowe, both in terms of their appearance and occupations of their inhabitants. However, all things come to an end and once again the area is being returned back to its original state now that the coal mining industry has all but disappeared, allowing for the formation of community woodlands and other types of industry.
We hope that these pages will contribute to your knowledge and respect for the vibrant heritage of this area. If you would like to contribute a heritage article, please contact us - we'd be pleased to hear from you.