Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre

Following the number of consultation exercises, we have secured planning permission from Newark and Sherwood District Council, for the £5.3m Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre on behalf of their clients, an RSPB-led consortium which includes the RSPB, the Sherwood Forest Trust Continuum Attractions and Thoresby Estate.

The Practice had been selected as architects for the project following previous projects for the RSPB, most prominently at the award-winning Saltholme Wildlife Reserve and Discovery Park  Visitor Centre in 2009.

The planning application is both for the external masterplan which divides the site into two separate areas, one for the actual visitor centre and service area and the other for the main visitor car and coach park, partially as a result of the RSPB’s intention that physical access to the site and all its opportunities should be available to as many people as possible.

In essence, the design proposes an iconic building knitted into the existing community at Forest Corner so that almost a village square is formed between the new building and the existing cricket club, YHA hostel and the Arts & Crafts Centre.

The actual centre is a 558sq metre split level structure designed to lead visitors into Sherwood Forest as JDDK Principal Architect, Alison Thornton-Sykes, explained, “One of the main features of the Centre is its curved, twisted form, created by staggered roof beams, which reflect the forest environment and the “Trees that sheltered him” concept of Robin Hood.There are several different elements to this from creating an initial welcoming area for visitors with toilets, retails and recreation facilities to creating  wilderness zones to give visitors a real sense of the ancient forest environment. Indeed, one of the most popular attractions of the whole area is the magnificent Major Oak, the approximately 1,000 year old oak tree where the Merry Men outlaw band supposedly slept.”

“The linear format pulls visitors through and down the 5m level change into the double height café space and out to the exterior amphitheatre sheltered by the overhanging canopy, an integral part of the roof.”

Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Councillor John Knight, Culture Committee Chairman and thrilled at the news.

The project will now start moving into its construction phase.