We got up and packed this morning. I collected the car from the car park. I’m glad we weren’t up and about on Friday when people were leaving, its mad out there! There is a 10 mph speed limit and cars are supposed to give way to cycles and pedestrians – unfortunately this is reality, its a wonder there hasn’t been an accident.
After squeezing a quart into a pint pot, (well that what loading the car felt like,) I took the car back to the car park and rode back to the villa. We locked up and took the keys back to the Information Centre. I handed the keys back in at about 3 minutes to 10am, 3 minutes to spare, no problem. As I was heading back to the bikes there were still cars coming on-site, I think they would be pushing it to vacate their accommodation by 10am.
Although we had handed the keys in, we were still allowed to use the facilities all day if we wanted. We headed up to the Nature Centre for one last check of the feeders and hide before we left. There wasn’t a lot of activity about today, so after a while we went into Foresters’ Inn next door for something to eat before we left. I think the service really dropped the ball today! We ordered 2 scrambled egg on toast, 1 poached egg on toast and scrambled egg and smoked salmon. I lost track of exactly when we ordered, but at the most generous, it took 35 minutes for our order to arrive. The food itself was good as usual and it did give the kids one last play in the kids play area. After we had finished, we all rode back to the car and I secured the bikes on the roof.
Instead of travelling home immediately, we headed north to Edwinstowe to the Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre. I had mentioned the Major Oak to the kids a while back, so there wasn’t really an option to miss it being this close. We followed the path to the Major Oak, passing through oak / silver birch forest on the way. Some of the oaks we passed were enormous, many had lost their tops due to being too weak to support the weight. The Major Oak is supposedly where Robin Hood and his Merry Men used to meet. The tree is heavily supported with several steel props these days. I think I last saw it about 28 years ago and there were only 4 wooden props supporting it. The area around it is all fenced off for the tree’s protection. Walking back along the return path, it struck us what was unusual, after the abundance of bird life and birdsong at Center Parcs, the area of Sherwood Forest around the Major Oak was silent. Only at one point on the path did we actually see and hear any birds. After visiting the shop on the way out, we headed home.
We stopped at Trowell Services again, for something to eat and had to cross the footbridge to the northbound services to eat. The selection in the southbound was dismal and half of it had the chairs up as they were cleaning it. We ended up sitting in the same table, we didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. We eventually got home about quarter to 6.