Nottinghamshire stretches from the heart of the Midlands to the edge of Yorkshire. It is an entirely inland county, but low-lying; rarely reaching 600 feet above sea level. The River Trent, the great river of the Midlands, crosses southern Nottinghamshire as a broad stream.
The City of Nottingham itself is one of the largest of the Midland towns. At its heart is a mediæval castle on a sandstone hill overlooking and commanding the Trent. The cliffs in and around Nottingham have caves, some man-made; the mediæval inn “The Trip to Jerusalem” is built into a cave, and higher up the Trent there were cave-dwellers into the twentieth century. (In the ninth century, Asser said that Nottingham’s name in Welsh was Tig Guocobauc: ‘House of Caves’.)
North of Nottingham is Sherwood Forest, shrunk since the Middle Ages but still with many acres of woodland, particularly around Ollerton. Sherwood is famous as the legendary haunt of Robin Hood. Beyond Sherwood lie the great parks of “the Dukeries”; Clumber, Rufford, Thoresby, and Welbeck.
However by the time the Dukes were gentrifying their estates, Nottinghamshire was changing close by them; by Ollerton the coal fields begin and the county becomes industrialised. The coal pit have gone, but the scars left on the landscape remain and the industrial towns, reaching north to join those of the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Western Nottinghamshire in particular is part of an industrial belt together with eastern Derbyshire. The mines, though much reduced, have created new villages and towns, which stretch in a belt up towards the Yorkshire border. The major towns in this part are Mansfield and Worksop “the capital of the Dukeries”.
The east of the county manages to remain agricultural. Here is found Southwell, home of a Cathedral of great architectural interest. The Fosse Way crosses the south and east of Nottinghamshire, part of its long course from Bath to Lincoln, and remarkably is almost devoid of villages along its route.
County Town: Nottingham
Main Towns: Beeston, Blidworth, Eastwood, Edwinstone, Mansfield, Newark on Trent, Nottingham, Retford, Southwell, Worksop.
Main Rivers: Trent, Idle, Maun, Devon.
Highlights: Major Oak, Edwinstone; Robin Hood Hills; Thoresby Hall; Wollaton Hall.
Highest Point: Silverhill, 671 feet.
Area: 825 sq miles
County Flower: Nottingham Catchfly