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Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 10:52 GMT
Robin Hood's forest protected
Major Oak in Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest is home to the Major Oak tree
The legendary home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest, has won national recognition for its wildlife.

English Nature has named the world-famous Nottinghamshire tourist attraction as a national nature reserve.

Sherwood Forest is already protected as a site of special scientific interest by the group.

Steve Clifton of English Nature said: "The Forest is an exceptionally special place for wildlife.

Major Oak

"There are few places in England where you can see nearly 1,000 ancient oak trees, which are home to a wide range of wildlife, ranging from rare beetles, fungi, bats and birds."

Robin Hood
Many believe that Robin Hood lived in the forest
At the time of William the Conqueror, Sherwood Forest covered more than a fifth of Nottinghamshire and was used as a royal hunting estate.

The Major Oak, estimated to be more than 800 years old, stands in the centre of the forest.

Many believe Robin Hood used the huge tree as a hideaway.

Izi Banton of Sherwood Forest Country Park said: "The status recognises the hard work of the staff, volunteers and local community people over the past 10 years.

"It raises the profile of the site, so we are delighted."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Emma Petrie
Robin Hood's forest given secure future

Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

16 May 02 | Science/Nature
27 Sep 01 | England
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