I just had to post this wonderfully evocative picture of part of the ‘The Kings Great Way” in Thieve's Wood, Sherwood Forest. Permission to reproduce it was given to me by Robert Henshaw, nephew of Nottinghamshire’s famous author and researcher into Robin Hood, Jim Lees. Robert has continued his uncle’s work and hopes to publish his findings in the future.
Facts about ‘The King’s Great Way’ are rather sketchy, but it was a major medieval highway which ran from London via Nottingham and Mansfield to York. It was an ideal place for outlaws and thieves to ambush wealthy travelers on their way through Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood Hills, a range of sandstone hills stand close to Annesley. At the most easterly point of these, standing high up is a flat rock known as Robin Hood’s Seat. From here one is able to obtain a fine vista of the surrounding countryside, and Robin would have had an excellent view as people travelled along The King’s Great Way. He would be able to plan his attack before they went into the Thieve’s Wood area.Tradition also states that Robin had a cave close by.
By using the map drawn by John Ogilby in about 1670 we can see that after Bridford, it ran through Nottingham, past the gallows and on to Bestwood Park. From Papplewick (close to the church) the ancient road continued through Blidworth and on to Mansfield. The stretch of the King's Great Way that ran from Nottingham to Papplewick was also known as Walton Gate.