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Robin Hood's Hills (Kirkby in Ashfield)

Locality
Coordinates 53.087777777778, -1.2297222222222
Adm. div. Nottinghamshire
Vicinity 2.9 km SSE of Kirkby in Ashfield
Type Natural feature
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1774
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Robin Hood's Hills.
Robin Hood's Hills / Dave Bevis, Wikimedia Commons.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2016-10-03. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-16.

Robin Hood's Hills in Kirkby Forest (formerly part of Sherwood Forest) not quite 3 km SSE of Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, are a group of sandstone hillocks forming a natural amphitheatre, their highest point being 195 m above sea level. In the immediate vicinity are found Robin Hood's Chair and Robin Hood's Cave. The name "Robin Hood's Hills" is first recorded on John Chapman's map of Nottinghamshire, surveyed 1774 and published 1776.[1] The hills now form the NW boundary of Kirkby Forest Golf Course.[2] Some 1.25 km SSW of Robin Hood's Hills and the Chair, 325 m NW of New Annesley, was the Robin Hood public house.

Michael R. Evans argues that the 'boscus vocatus Robynhill' – 'wood called Robynhill' – mentioned in the c. 1163 foundation charter of the Augustinian Priory of Newstead, preserved in the priory's 1286 chartulary, should be identified with Robin Hood Hills.[3] Since Robin Hood Hills are located c. 3.25 km NW of Newstead Abbey and several other localities mentioned in the charter are even closer to the abbey, this is quite plausible, but it should perhaps be noted that, though this has not been found recorded earlier than 1884, there is a also a Robin Hood Hill c. 9 km due east of the abbey, and the gap in the record between c. 1163 and the first occurrence of the name "Robin Hood's Hills" in 1774 is a rather large one. That 'Robin' may well become 'Robin Hood' is hardly surprising given the popularity of the outlaw.

A visitor from down under, most probably in 2014, visited the locality during a ramble in Nottinghamshire:

We slid under more barbed wire and onto Kirkby Forest golf course where we discreetly followed a track which took us behind a plantation within earshot of the A611. Strictly speaking we were trespassing. I am normally a law abiding walker but I felt I had a right to my horizon. We were walking over heathland, vanilla scented gorse bushes in full bloom, patches of dead bracken and dark sandy soil. These were Robin Hood’s Hills, the highest hills in the county at a modest 180 metres. We came out on a sandstone bluff, looking down on the remains of Annesley colliery with its distinctive red and white pithead tower. Annesley colliery is a conservation area because of the variety of different buildings on the site, but sadly is in a state of decay. Beyond the colliery we could see Newstead village and beyond that, Nottingham. We were at the furthest and highest point of the horizon from my house, nine miles [c. 15 km] away as the crow flies.[4]

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