The dark side of Sherwood Forest

Deep in the Midlands, not a stone’s throw from the lush parkland of Clumber, is Sherwood Forest. Renowned for once being the hideout of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, today it is looked after by the Sherwood Forest Trust.

When we go to visit my parents, our children always beg us to go to the forest to see the Major Oak, which, as legend has it, is where Robin himself hid away.

The Major Oak

The Major Oak

In the summer holidays there is normally quite a lot of activity, and this year we were not to be let down. The trust had set up a medieval village with archery and much more.

However, I was interested in wandering around the oaks and getting some spooky shots.

As I went deep into the dark forest, it became quiet, still. I suddenly became aware of strange noises as the oaks loomed above me:


I could have sworn I heard a snigger as I passed this ugly brute. I thought of turning around, but dismissed the idea. I was soon to regret this…

Venturing further in the wood, I suddenly heard screaming.
As I turned, I saw that a young women had been caught up in the roots of ferns.
“Can I help you?” I shouted.
“Run. Run now, sir. The forest is alive!”
Above her I saw movement: an oak was turning around, its branches twisting and uncurling, reaching down to the poor woman. With a loud cracking, its bark opened, revealing a white, membranous maw. Two great branches plucked the screaming woman up and pushed her into the frothing mouth.
Around me I heard movement. Other oaks were coming to life, their reptilian-like hides pulsating, slimy roots rising up from the ferns. I had never seen such hideous forest dwellers. I stood, frozen by what I had witnessed.
However, the creatures had sensed my presence, and, with slow movements, were heaving their great bodies, moving in my direction. Their hulking torsos rose slowly from the ground, dragged along by gelatinous roots. I could stand it no more. As a soil encrusted root whipped over my head, I dashed into the woods, blinded by branches thrashing at my face. Behind me, I heard the groans of the Oaks as they joined the hunt.

I finally reached a clearing.

A voice called out to me. “Get down you fool!” A blazing arrow flashed over my head, thudding into the lumbering bulk of an oak close on my tail. The spirit of Robin Hood, in the guise of a bronze statue, had awoken to help me find a way out of this grim, evil wood. He led me to a track and pointed me to what appeared to be a small settlement.

As I turned to thank him, the bushes erupted and a multi-armed nightmare lunged down on the brave man. His screams will haunt my dreams. I ran on, the settlement in sight.


Upon reaching the small encampment, a squire, fresh from cutting fire wood, put down his axe and stared at me in astonishment as I told my story. “For safe passage from here,” he said, “I shall give you my bravest warrior. She shall lead you to yonder highway, and a way out of this cursed forest.” He led me to the armoury and a motley bunch of warriors.


He presented their greatest warrior.

“Fresh from the crusades, my lord. Helped the Knights Templar themselves, tis said. She is small, but I’ll wager 100 Groats that she’ll get you to safety. I bid you farewell.” With a grunt, the minuscule warrior led me away from this dark place.



About Philip Shiell
A creative person who loves books, films, music, writing and teaching.

2 Responses to The dark side of Sherwood Forest

  1. flubnow says:

    Awesome photographs of those trees! Looks like everyone had a good time in spite of being in the dark wood.

    • Yes, they are quite impressive “beasts” close up.
      This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are loads more lurking in the depths of the forest.
      I’m sure that artists/writers from the horror genre would be able to get some valuable inspiration if they took a stroll here in winter, when it’s really spooky!

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