Actor, theatre director and playwright, Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance wants you to save Sherwood Forest

"We have to protect places like Sherwood Forest, because if they can think about fracking here, where won’t they frack?"

Academy-award winner Mark Rylance is concerned about the Sherwood Forest fracking threat. He's teaming up with Friends of the Earth to protect the legendary home of Robin Hood from fracking.

Read on to find out why one of the stars of blockbuster film, Dunkirk, wants to save Sherwood Forest.

Trees: The Major Oak at Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest is under threat from fracking

Fracking company INEOS has licenses to explore over 1 million acres of the UK. This includes the areas in and around Sherwood Forest. INEOS has permission to carry out seismic surveys within just a few hundred yards of the Major Oak (pictured).

These surveys are used to help understand what the rock looks like underground where companies might want to frack. They generate seismic waves usually through a special thumper truck and sometimes through explosives. The waves travel through layers of rock and are recorded to produce a 3D model of the underground.

Trees: The Major Oak at Sherwood Forest

This wonderful and historic forest is under threat.

Wolf Hall and Dunkirk star, Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance in a red shirt talking to camera

Why are you against fracking?

"I'm a great lover of forests and I'm distressed to hear that Sherwood Forest is under threat.

"I’ve visited Pennsylvania and seen the extensive networks of piping, trucks and refining facilities required which have caused enormous problems.

"And basically I don’t think we need it. Please join us to save Sherwood Forest and protect our countryside from fracking."

Help Mark by adding your name to our petition.

Mark Rylance in a red shirt talking to camera
Looking up at the canopies of two oak trees

What's so good about trees?

Not only do trees provide homes to thousands of species, they also filter dangerous pollutants from the air using their leaves and bark.

As you'll see from these 10 fascinating facts, there's a lot more to nature's skyscrapers than meets the eye...

Looking up at the canopies of two oak trees
St Johns Palace Kings Clipstone – seen from the back of the village hall

Sherwood Forest history lesson

There has been woodland in Sherwood Forest since the Ice Age. Prehistoric hunter-gatherers once roamed the area. Humans lived in the forest during the Iron Age and Roman period.

During the Viking Age, people gathered to resolve disputes amid the forest's ancient oaks in a place called Thynghowe.

Sherwood became a royal hunting forest after the Norman invasion of 1066. You can still see the remains of King John's hunting lodge near the Nottinghamshire village of Kings Clipstone (pictured).

St Johns Palace Kings Clipstone – seen from the back of the village hall
Statue of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest

Trees in Sherwood Forest

Sherwood is also home to many ancient oaks.

The most famous is the Major Oak – thought to be over 800 years old. According to local folklore it provided shelter for Robin Hood and his band of outlaws.

In the 1200s, the forest covered 100,000 acres. But over the years, deforestation and other environmental factors have seen it shrink to a little over 1000 acres.

Was Robin Hood real? If he were alive today, we think he'd be fighting against the powers trying to force fracking on communities across England.

Statue of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
A green woodpecker

Sherwood Forest animals

The forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

You might see rabbits, fallow dear, weasels and stoats. Or maybe you'll hear the laughing of the green woodpecker (pictured), or the whirring song of the nightjar.

At night, the forest bustles with bats, badgers, owls and foxes. Listen out for the haunting call of the tawny owl overhead.

A green woodpecker
Mark Rylance looking to the left

"We should be spending money on insulation and other measures to reduce our use of energy – and offshore wind and other renewable energy sources."

Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance looking to the left
Sign the petition

to help save Sherwood Forest from fracking