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Saturday, 5 November 2011

image for Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham This months visitor to the Castle

Following the success of previous editions;
A walk though Shakespeare's Stratford upon Avon, A Walk around Stone Henge, and The Luddite's march into Nottingham, we present:

A walk in Robin Hood's footsteps into Nottingham, to the Castle

We follow as far as possible, the route taken by Robin and his Merry Men, as they neared Nottingham from Sherwood Forest.

We start at the only remaining recognisable spot today, the Cemetery on Mansfield Road.

The Cemetery
It is said that Robin used to lay in wait there, for the rich to pass by or through, and ambush them.

Today, the muggings continue, and it is a Red light district.

Top of the hill
The stretch of road as they move down the hill towards the Castle, used to have several violent gangs of Prince John's supporters, and Robin and his men had to be very weary and careful going through this district, as they themselves were often attacked, raped and robbed.

Same today, in the recent riots 4 police cars were attacked in this prostitute and drug ridden area.

Further Down the hill
Here there were a few dwellings of mud huts, with very few residents, and poverty.

Today there are many closed down retail units, a Chinese restaurant, a Korean restaurant, a pizza house, a Japanese restaurant, a burger bar, a charity shop or two, a bookies, an abandoned warehouse, two Indian restaurants, student flats, burnt out cars, Traffic Wardens, and a Halal butchers, very few residents, and poverty.

Half Way down the hill
As Robin and his men approached Nottingham, here they would have came across the Princes forces, manning the ford over the River Lean. They would have to take great care here that their approach was not reported to the Princes men at the Castle.

To meet visitors today, there is a Mosque, International Community Centre, newly built unoccupied city offices, and on the spot where there were a murder and rape last year, a bus station.

Into the City
Here Robin's gang would have come across the bare muddy, smelly Nottingham Market, with ten or so stalls of traders in turnips, goats, daughters, and pickpockets.

Today this area is full of hustle and bustle. Victoria Shopping Centre with its 544 retail units (albeit with 20% gone broke and now abandoned and up for rent). The pickpockets remain in action, along with the Canvassers, and mobile phone salesmen offering half a pence a minute calls to Pakistan. The mini gangs of hooded yobs roam the area with rapidity to avoid recognition on the CCTV cameras.

The Rise to the Castle (Now Friar Lane)
Robin's men would be climbing the overgrowth of woods here, to gain access to the secret passage into the Castle.

No tree growths here today. When we visited Friar Lane, we came across the 'Occupy Nottingham groups tents' and the occupants, the Socialist Workers Protest marchers, Food stalls from the world temporary market, kids enjoying the fountains, some shop-lifters being removed from Debenham's store into a waiting police car, and a protest outside the library about closures.

The Castle Gates
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Roger de Laci, would be ensconced in the Castle, now looked upon as one of the largest and most magnificent castles in the land, and a secure retreat in time of danger. In September 1831, the Castle was burnt down in the Reform Riots.

In 2011 14 police stations were fire bombed in the riots, Nottingham does not change in some ways does it? Robin, perhaps using Mortimer's passage, would they say, gain access to Maid Marion. Today, Maid Marion is still available, according to a card posted on the wall near the phone box near the Castle; 'Have your own Maid Marion, 0115 9266648. All services supplied, S&M a speciality - ring before 1300hrs'. Entrance fee for an Adult single, is £15 to get in nowadays. [to the Castle that is, not Maid Marion]

Visit historic Nottingham, always something interesting happening

More Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham to follow

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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