Does Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest Actually Exist?

Sherwood Forest serves as the backdrop for one of history's most beloved legends — Robin Hood. This enduring tale of a larcenist with a heart of gold who "steals from the rich and gives to the poor" has captured the hearts of readers, writers, and movie lovers for centuries.

As legend would have it, Robin and his loyal crew of "Merry Men" inhabited Sherwood Forest, a particularly shady grove where outlaws lurked at every turn. Described by medieval chroniclers as a place where trees grew "tall and thin" (via The Land of Stories) and the Nottingham Castle loomed like a relic in the background, it could be said that this forest is as famous as Robin Hood himself. In fact, according to Mappit, there are at least 41 books on the market today that feature the folkloric Sherwood Forest.

Alas, was this notorious woodland a real-life place? Or was it merely a land of make-believe, existing only in our collective hearts and imaginations? 

Verdict: Sherwood Forest was and still is real

According to Nottinghamshire County Council, Sherwood Forest is a real-life location in Nottinghamshire, England. It boasts a history far richer than anything Robin Hood might have stolen. The face of the forest has shifted a great deal over the years, reflecting how leadership and legislation can impact a local landscape, a fact we rarely recognize.

Archeological evidence suggests that even prehistoric humans had a penchant for this place, as they left their flint tools all over the area. As time wore on, the deep wood became the property of King John and took on its earliest version of the moniker "Sciryuda" which today is pronounced "Sherwood." During the era when Robin Hood stories reigned, the real-life Sherwood was every bit as shifty and underhanded as described in stories, with outlaws and corrupt politicians all vying for this section of Nottinghamshire.

Even today, Sherwood Forest sees its share of notoriety with hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to the scene to marvel at Robin Hood's storied homeland and gape at the thousand-year-old Major Oak Tree. Pictured above is the legendary Nottingham Castle nestled within Sherwood Forest. It truly is a spectacle to behold.