ONE of the country’s most iconic, natural landmarks, Sherwood Forest, has benefited from a new visitor centre which will accommodate the Forest’s 350,000 annual visitors.

The Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre was completed by Woodhead Construction and designed by JDDK Architects. We provided M&E services for the project and were appointed by Kartar Consulting – which provided employers agent and quantity surveying services.

The new centre is run by an RSPB-led consortium, working together with Nottinghamshire County Council.

Chris O’Boyle, our associate director based in Birmingham said: “The amazing new visitor centre is a predominantly wooden building, which required entirely exposed services. This meant that we had to create a design that was conscious of the overall aesthetic; considering both the centre itself as well as the surroundings.

“Sherwood Forest is obviously a site of significant natural importance, so we needed to design a building that was both visually appealing as well as practically functioning.

“We managed this by ensuring that all high-level services followed the curvature of the building, particularly the high-level containment which houses the electrical cable. The roof has a unique, curved shape which means the containment baskets are more prominent and act as feature of the internal space.”

The 560m2 gross internal area (GIA) of the building boasts: a contemporary reception area, retail space and a double height atrium which houses the centre’s café with views out over the forest. The design also includes a changing place facility which is specifically designed for disabled people and wheelchair users, with the inclusion of hoists and handrails.

“It was important for the client that the building was also as environmentally friendly as possible,” continued Chris.

“We completed a considerable amount of thermal modelling to make sure that it achieved its required ‘B’ energy rating. As the site is quite tight, we installed air source heat pumps – rather than ground heat pumps – which is just as environmentally friendly but requires much less space and means that the required heating and hot water is available on demand.

“We’re incredibly proud to have been part of such a transformative project, which I’m sure will be a well-used and widely enjoyed facility for the RSPB and Sherwood Forest’s visitors.”

Ross Frazer, project manager at RSPB said: “Our remit was to provide a modern gateway to the ancient forest here and I’m delighted with the building we’ve created.
“We had to make something special which was befitting of this legendary place, and are thankful to BSD for the important part they played in helping us all achieve this.”

This project was procured through Scape Venture, a collaborative procurement consultancy, which supports the private sector and charities achieve best value in their programmes of work.
The centre officially opened its doors during the Robin Hood Festival.