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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 10:30 GMT
Bid to revitalise Sherwood Forest
Statue of Robin Hood
The project would revitalise the Robin Hood visitor's centre
A bid to win lottery funding for a 50m project to transform the heart of Sherwood Forest has officially started.

The county council is vying for lottery cash in a competition that will culminate in a public vote in 2007.

The plan includes a state-of-the-art conference, educational and visitor centre at Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire.

County council leader David Kirkham said the project would help revitalise the surrounding area which he described as "quite disadvantaged."

Mr Kirkham said: "We feel this is an exciting project for the area - the visitor centre will have a new campus that will be environmentally friendly - and will provide an exciting place for people to visit and live the legend of Robin Hood.

Raised walkways

"We are also hoping to recreate some of the lost woodland and heath land of the area with a walkway in the forest for visitors."

The project is bidding for cash from the Big Lottery Fund's "Living Landmark" programme which will award 50m to just one national project.

The plans also include a new visitor centre, exhibition areas for local crafts, better cafes and restaurants, and raised and hidden tree-level walkways.

The manager of nearby Edwinstowe youth hostel, Ian Wilson, said: "The project would help increase the amount of visitors to Edwinstowe.

"We have a lot of primary schools that visit us that use the visitor's centre but at the moment they only offer tours a couple of times a week."

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