Forest Recreation Ground

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Forest Recreation Ground
Forest Recreation Ground, Nottingham - - 28638.jpg
A view across the ground from Mansfield Road in 2005
Forest Recreation Ground is located in Nottingham
Forest Recreation Ground
Location within Nottingham
Location Nottingham, England
Coordinates 52°57′54″N 1°09′36″W / 52.965°N 1.16°W / 52.965; -1.16Coordinates: 52°57′54″N 1°09′36″W / 52.965°N 1.16°W / 52.965; -1.16
Area 80 acres (0.324 km²)
Created 1845 (1845)
Operated by Nottingham City Council
Status Open year round

The Forest Recreation Ground is a recreation ground in Nottingham, England, approximately one mile north of the city centre. This urban space is bounded by the neighbourhoods of Forest Fields to the north, Mapperley Park to the east, Arboretum to the south and Hyson Green to the west.


The Lodge, by Mansfield Road. Built in 1857 as the Lodge to the racecourse

The name "Forest" derives comes from medieval times when the land that is now a recreation ground was part of the Sherwood Forest that once extended from the city of Nottingham to the north of Nottinghamshire. The Forest was the southernmost part of Sherwood Forest and was part of the open area known formerly as "The Lings" which, largely covered by gorse and scrub, extended into the parishes of Lenton, Radford and Basford.

The site of The Forest was one of the original areas to be protected in perpetuity by the 1845 Nottingham Inclosure Act, which set aside some eighty acres (324,000 m²) of Sherwood Forest for public recreational use.[citation needed] In commemoration, the Mayor of Nottingham planted the "Inclosure Oak" which can still be seen at the Mansfield Road entrance to The Forest.

Leading gardener and architect of the nineteenth century Joseph Paxton was responsible for the criss-cross formation of walkways. Today, these form part of a city-wide network of walks that link various recreation areas, parks and open spaces preserved by the Inclosure Act.[citation needed]

Nottingham Forest Football Club first played their games on the Forest after their formation in 1865, hence the club's name.[citation needed]

The Forest was also home to Nottingham's racecourse before it moved to its current location at Colwick, south east of Nottingham.

Cricket was also played on the Forest, long before the land was enclosed and either side of the two World Wars.

Standing at the Mansfield Road entrance is Forest Lodge, built in 1857. This Grade II listed building was originally used as a Police or Keeper's Lodge and a police cell can still be seen at basement level. A red granite monument stands at the Monument Gate on Forest Road East, commemorating the fallen of the Boer War.

Cultural events[edit]

Nottingham Goose Fair in 2007

Each October, the Forest hosts the annual Nottingham Goose Fair. Other smaller travelling fairs and circuses take place on the recreation ground throughout the year, usually coinciding with local school holidays.

Sports and recreation[edit]

The Forest Recreation Ground boasts floodlit hard surface courts and grass pitches for ball games, and a traditional bowling lawn. There is also an enclosed children's playground. These facilities are maintained by Nottingham City Council.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The Forest Recreation Ground supports many important habitats and species. Mature trees include Turkey Oak, English Elm, English Oak, Sessile Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Common Lime and Horse Chestnut. Additionally, there have been more recent plantings of London Plane, Beech, various Maples and Silver Lime. Perennials include Autumn Crocus, Spring Crocus, Bluebell, Ramsons, Primrose, Wild Privet, Hazel and Guelder Rose.

Certain parts of The Forest play host to relic meadow flora such as Meadow Foxtail, Short-stemmed Meadow-grass, Yorkshire Fog, Red Clover, White Clover, Oxeye Daisy, Germander Speedwell and Meadow Saxifrage.

With such an abundance of habitat, the Forest attracts many birds such as Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Mistle Thrushes, Tawny Owls, Song Thrushes, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Chaffinches.

The caves of the Rock Cemetery are a Geological County Wildlife Site. The thin turf here supports Early and Silver Hairgrass, Harebells, Bird's-foot Trefoil and Spiked Sedge. Conspicuous insects include Holly Blue and Clouded Yellow butterflies, Hornets and Cockchafer beetles.[citation needed]

Public transport[edit]

Located at the northwest corner of the Forest Ground is the Forest Park & Ride and associated tram stop for Nottingham Express Transit (NET).

Preceding station   Nottingham Express Transit Nottingham Express Transit   Following station
High School
towards Station Street
  Line 1   Noel Street
towards Hucknall or Phoenix Park

Restoration of The Forest[edit]

As with much urban parkland, The Forest has been threatened by development. Proposals for a recreation centre, to be built on the eastern fringes of The Forest, were rejected following public opposition to loss of green space. However, mature trees and greenery at the northwest corner of the ground have been cut down to provide 989 parking spaces for the Park & Ride that serves the "Forest" stop for Nottingham Express Transit.

As at summer 2008, The Forest was the subject of a public consultation to decide on regeneration priorities, to be funded by an expected Heritage Lottery Fund award. For the last four years, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham's Partnership Council have worked on plans to restore the parkland to its former glory and to better serve the needs of today's park users. The project is also backed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and by local organisations such as Friends of the Forest.

The Forest's £5.2 million restoration project was completed during September 2013. The project encompassed: the restoration and refurbishment of the lodge (now office space) and the pavilion (which now houses a new café, public toilets and office space); the reparation and improvement of footpaths; replacement of park benches, improvements to access to sporting facilities; the amelioration of lighting and security; the expansion of planting areas; and the creation of higher-quality activity areas for young people. Additionally, railings were erected, for example the new green-coloured metal fences next to the bus stop near The Forest's Mansfield Road entrance, as well as the custom panelled columns.[1] In design, these railings are very similar to the historic ones nearby.

Friends of the Forest[edit]

‘Friends of the Forest’ is a not-for-profit organisation, funded by donations and public subscription. It supports efforts to maintain The Forest as an accessible, open, green space which has historic importance for the City of Nottingham. Friends of the Forest has worked with Nottingham City Council to prioritise refurbishment and replanting, and to organise voluntary activities that benefit The Forest and increase local awareness of green issues.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Forest Recreation Ground - Nottingham City Council". Nottingham City Council. Nottingham City Council. 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.