Crafty people in the Middle Ages used to eat the tail of Beaver to get round the rules of not eating meat during Lent, according to Legend at Sherwood Forest.
They would reason that because Beavers used to live in water, they could be classed as fish – quick witted peasants also used to scoff goose and duck meat during Lent using the same excuse.
The fascinating insight into life in the 1300s is explained by James Askins, Chairman of the Dogs of War re-enactment group, who will be appearing at Sherwood Forest from April 19 to April 21 during Easter weekend.
Visitors can enjoy free entry to the event at Nottinghamshire County Council’s famous national nature reserve and witness life for themselves from the Middle Ages.
There will be a range of medieval foods such as ale and seasonal vegetables on display and tail of Beaver will be depicted by beef steak in the shape of Beaver tail (no beavers will be harmed!)
Mr Askins said: “It will be an intriguing insight into life during the mid 1300s under the rule of Edward III. We will be exploring the Easter theme closely when people used to cook and eat the meat from a beaver’s tail and other water based animals to bend the rules of Lent.
“We will also have a display of a common man giving the Easter Benediction to the crowd. It was the one time of year when a lay person rather than a priest was able to deliver the Latin sermon.”
People can see how medieval camps were set up and watch members of the Dogs of War preparing food, eating and entertaining crowds as they would have done in that period of history.
“It is interesting to note that Edward III presided over the country at the time of the Black Death when some 60 per cent of the population perished. We will show some of the surgical tents from that time, but it is astonishing how Edward was able to not only contain and overcome this plague, but also keep the country together to start to rebuild itself.”
Coun John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Sherwood Forest is always a popular location for visitors and we are looking forward to a wide variety of events this Easter ranging from the Dogs of War re-enactment event, conservation opportunities with the RSPB and Walk with the Hawks and an Easter trail for young children.”
Here is a list of events at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve this Easter:
Sherwood Forest, Edwinstowe:
Saturday 5 – Monday 21 April, 11am-3pm
SSSI Diamond Jubilee – Robin Hood’s Easter Trail
Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, £1 per trail leaflet available from Visitor Information and £3 car parking charge at weekends and bank holidays.
Follow this self-guided trail around the Visitor Centre and woodland to discover lots of fascinating facts about Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood. Complete all the clues and claim your candy cane or chocolate reward! (subject to availability). Suitable for wheelchair users.
Wednesday 16 April, 11am-12noon, 12.30pm-1.30pm, 2pm-3pm
John Hall, Tudor Greenwood Worker, Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre
Free Event. Free car parking today! Learn more about the renewable and ancient craft of hazel hurdle making using materials gathered from the forest. Suitable for wheelchair users.
Friday 18 April, 11am onwards
Walk with the Hawks, Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre
Adults £5, children £2.50. £3 car parking charge
Take a walk on the wild side with falconer Chris Miller and his birds. A chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures and learn some fascinating facts about this ‘sport of kings’, in the magnificent setting of the once Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood. Places limited on the walk so pre-booking essential on 01623 823202. Sorry, no dogs. Maximum distance 1½ miles. (Heavy rain or strong winds may require this event to be re-scheduled.) Not suitable for wheelchair users.
Saturday 19 – Monday 21 April, 11am-4pm
Dogs of War, Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre
Free Event. £3 car parking charge
Come along to Sherwood Forest this Easter weekend and meet members of the Dogs of War medieval re-enactment group. Let them thrill you with their displays of medieval combat and find out what life was really like in the forest in medieval times. Suitable for wheelchair users.
Saturday 26 April, 11am-4pm
RSPB at Sherwood, Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre
Free event but small donation please towards the cost of materials. £3 car parking charge
Did you know The RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home? Come along to the visitor centre today and try your hand at children’s activities under the guidance of the colourful Roseanna Burton, RSPB Community Engagement Officer and learn not just about birds but about nature and how to give ‘Nature a Home’.
Sunday 27 April, 5am-7am
SSSI Diamond Jubilee – Dawn Chorus in the Forest
Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Adults £5, children (under 12) £3
Set your alarm clock for an experience not to be missed and one you’ll be talking about for weeks afterwards. Wrap up warm and join the RSPB’s Nottinghamshire Conservation officer Carl Cornish for a gentle stroll through this ancient forest to enjoy a magical early morning concert courtesy of the birds of Sherwood. Sorry, no dogs. Maximum distance 1½ miles Places are limited so pre-booking is essential on 01623 823202. Not suitable for wheelchair users or young children.
Sunday 27 April, 12noon, 2pm and 3.30pm
The Legend Lives On! Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre
Free Event. £3 car parking charge
Come along to Sherwood today and meet some of the colourful costumed characters from the Oakwood Outlaws. Be amazed as the lads and lasses demonstrate their medieval combat skills ‘up close and personal under the Major Oak’!