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Sherwood Forest 'is under threat'

5 October 07 09:39 GMT

The home of legendary outlaw Robin Hood in Nottinghamshire is under threat, according to forestry officials.

Sherwood Forest used to cover more than 100,000 acres in the middle of England, but now covers only 450 acres.

Nottinghamshire County Council hopes to be given a £50m lottery grant to protect what it describes as "an incredibly important wildlife reserve".

Izi Banton, head ranger at Sherwood Forest, said the forest was "just as threatened as the tropical rainforest".

"We have to get the message out there to people that Sherwood is under threat and we need people's help," Ms Banton said.

The size of the forest has shrunk over the centuries due to population growth and the harvesting of its huge oaks for ship-building and lumber.

The aim of the county's lottery bid is to reconnect scattered fragments of woodland.

"We're not talking about chucking people out and putting trees back everywhere.

"There are pockets of forest all over Nottinghamshire, and what we want to do is to reconnect them back together, create wildlife corridors, and create new access routes so people can get out there and enjoy the forest."

"Sherwood Forest - in one way or another - will be saved," she added.

The plans also include a new visitor centre with tree-top walkways.

The county council is hoping to win a public vote that will decide which local authority scheme gets the lottery funding.

It is part of the Living Landmark Award, which will be aired on TV in December.

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