Heritage > Counties > England


Nottinghamshire, or Notts, covers 834 square miles and has a population of just over One Million people.

Nottinghamshire is a county which once thrived on the fruits of the coal mining industry and, in recent years, has been having to adapt to the decommissioning of many pits. Nottingham, the administrative city is particularly famed for two reasons. Firstly it's lace which has gained worldwide recognition and secondly, and perhaps more readily, the legend of Robin Hood.

Sherwood forest is indeed one of the physical features that enriches the natural beauty of the county and was once a royal hunting ground. The River Trent, which runs right through Nottingham, has for centuries procurred the county a special strategic importance.

Apart from Nottingham the county also has Mansfield and Worksop as it's main towns.

One misconception that the people of Nottingham are weary of is the reference to the city of Nottingham as Notts, they will tell you that Notts is the county and Nottingham is the city.

The county lists cereals, cattle, sheep, light engineering, footwear, limestone, ironstone amd oil as it's main products.

One famous son of Nottingham, excluding Robin Hood that is, is D.H.Lawrence the famous author.

Facts on the region

Origin of name: Nottingham's original name is unfortunate - before the Danes renamed it, the small village was called Snotta, or Snot, from Old English meaning ‘a place abounding with caverns or holes dug underground' and certainly prehistoric people left such dwellings at the bottom of a steep rock under this town.

Name first recorded: 1016 as Snotinghamscir.

County Motto: Sapienter Proficiens ('Advancing wisely').

County Town: NOTTINGHAM Tower blocks and ring road do their best to disfigure this once great centre for cotton, textiles and lace. Local boy Paul Smith opened his first shop here, continuing the clothes tradition. There is a major TV studio here too.

County Rivers: Trent, Idle, Maun, Devon.

Highest point: Strawberry Bank, Huthwaite at 650 feet.

Nottinghamshire’s local government: Although Nottingham looks after its own affairs the rest of the County of Nottinghamshire apart from its capital city is administered by a two-tier system: Nottinghamshire County Council and the seven Districts Councils of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark & Sherwood and Rushcliffe.

The local landscape

A long peardrop-shaped county, Nottinghamshire forms with Derbyshire a pair of keystones of the north Midlands, between the south and the borders of Yorkshire. At first glance Nottinghamshire may seem to be an average kind of county,. Nevertheless the feeling is purely midlands, open, and though flattish, very fertile, its many fields laced with lanes and county roads connecting ordered settlements.

The River Trent crosses the southern party diagonally, and in the main all land north of this waterway is industrial. The south however is agricultural. Here the pleasantly hilly country is part of the famous hunting country of the rolling Wolds of Leicestershire, its southern neighbour, and its fine open fields flank the River Soar. To the east the hills soften somewhat towards the Vale of Belvoir into some of the best farmland in the country stretching up as far as the market town of Newark-on-Trent.

At Newark the north begins flatly beyond the Trent, where the river enters Lincolnshire.

Local Towns and Villages

BEESTON Home to one Jesse Boot who started work in his mother’s herb shop in Nottingham and went on to create a high street phenomenon. The weir here on the Trent is very pretty.

BLIDWORTH Sherwood Forest town linked to Robin Hood lore with Will Scarlet reputedly buried there and home to Maid Marian.

EASTWOOD Birthplace of native son D.H. Lawrence in once-rural peaceful setting amid colliery area.

EDWINSTOWE In the most beautiful part of Sherwood Forest with the grand remains of the Major Oak, supposedly over 1,000 years old and the biggest oak in Britain.

MANSFIELD Cotton and coal were once its staple diet, but it is now a comfortable provincial northern town with a good market and theatre. It was especially famous for its hosiery, footwear and net curtains and dollies.

NEWARK ON TRENT This town is know as the key to the North and has an interesting connection with Lady Godiva, who presented the town as a gift to the monastery at Stow, Newark was staunchly monarchist in the Civil War, Newark Castle proving impregnable. Gladstone made his first public address from the window of the Clinton Arms. Cobblestoned marketplace and some extremely old pubs.

RETFORD Rich in early and medieval history, this is the main market town in the north of the county. Its east and west sides are joined across the river Idle.

SOUTHWELL Has a famous minster visible from some 20 miles away across the Trent Valley.

WORKSOP Dating back to Saxon times the chief town of the area known s the Dukeries. Beautiful parks to the south being the northern reaches of Sherwood Forest.




Kirkby in Ashfield

Mansfield Woodhouse




West Bridgford

Places to Visit

Carlton Hall, Carlton-on-trent, Nottinghamshire

Hodsock Priory Gardens, Worksop, Nottinghamshire

Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottingham

Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire

Norwood Park, Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Papplewick Hall, Papplewick, Nottinghamshire


The Nottinghamshire County Show takes place each May.

The Nottingham Goose Fair was a trade fair of medieval origin. Now it fills the streets of the city with amusements in the first week of October for three helter-skelter days.

One of the great cricket grounds, Trent Bridge plays host to county and test cricket.

Famous names from the region

Robin Hood and his men still retain a romantic appeal. At a time when the Forest Laws were savage and hunting was kept for the king alone, they supposedly robbed the rich to give to the poor.

Without doubt the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron is one of the most famous sons of Nottingham. He was born at Newstead Abbey.

D H Lawrence (Sons and Lovers) was born here and wrote novels recalling his childhood in the mining village of Eastwood. His house can still be seen.

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