A £5.3 million contract has been signed with an RSPB-led consortium to build a new visitor centre and manage the world-famous Sherwood Forest Country Park.
The consortium comprises the RSPB, the UK’s leading conservation charity, working with Thoresby Estate, Continuum Attractions and The Sherwood Forest Trust.
Nottinghamshire County Council chiefs said the investment would bring a huge boost to the region’s visitor economy and protect and preserve the unique and impressive natural habitats of the park.
Councillor John Knight, committee chairman for culture at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This is a significant and exciting moment for our world-famous Sherwood Forest. We are delighted to be working with the RSPB, which has a strong reputation for its excellence in conservation management and delivering award-winning visitor centres nationally.
“We are proud of our iconic forest and look forward to an exciting new chapter for Sherwood.”
The council will remain responsible for running the current visitor facilities and country park through the design and development phase until the new centre opens.
The design team will develop detailed plans in consultation with stakeholders and the local community and seek planning permission next year.
Construction could then start on site in December 2016 with the new visitor centre open to the public by winter 2017.
The visitor centre would be located at Forest Corner, close to Edwinstowe village, providing a stunning gateway to the historic forest.
Speaking on behalf of the RSPB-led consortium, Michael Copleston said: “The RSPB is delighted to reach the significant milestone of officially signing the contract. “Our consortium is deeply committed to delivering a bright future for Sherwood Forest, and we look forward to enhancing the conservation of the nature reserve and developing a first-class visitor facility for the people of Nottinghamshire and beyond. “We are really excited to be taking this forward and will now work towards the design and planning of the new facilities.”
Find out more about the new visitor centre online at: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sherwood