Difficulty: Easy. The 0.5-mile loop trail travels over even terrain. The biggest difficulty walkers may face is water; the trail is soggy in the spring and can be icy in the winter, depending on snow cover.
How to get there: The trailhead to the Sherwood Forest Park loop trail is located at the end of Robin Hood Drive, where it intersects with Little John Lane and Friar Tuck Lane (no joke). Robin Hood Drive is located off Parkway South in Brewer, just south of Brewer Community School.
Information: Sherwood Forest — a 10.5-acre parcel of forest boxed in by Little John Lane, Rotherdale Road, Canterbury Road and Locksley Lane — was designated as a park by city officials in 2005. Plans for a nature trail was presented to the city by Ken Hanscom, director of the Brewer Parks and Recreation Department, in 2006, but it was years before a clearly defined trail was created on the land.
In April 2011, BDN reporter Nok-Noi Ricker wrote a story about the park entitled, “Site of proposed Brewer park under scrutiny,” which summarizes a discussion about the undeveloped park at a March 2011 council meeting. At the meeting, City Councilor Larry Doughty asked the council to explore selling the land, and the motion was defeated 3-2. City leaders voiced that they wanted to hear from people from the neighborhoods surrounding the forest, as well as the people who initially proposed the trail.
Since 2005, nearby residents had created small footpaths and had started work on a 0.5-mile loop trail through the forest. But after the discussion in 2011, the Brewer Department of Parks and Recreation began working to clearly define loop trail, with the help of Brewer Land Trust. And in October 2011, Eagle Scout Ryan Ward led Boy Scout Troop 15 of Brewer to construct a sizeable bridge so that the loop trail could cross a brook. At about that time, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods worked to spread mulch on the entire trail, which averages six feet in width.
As of winter 2012, the trail was marked by red painted maple leaves on the trunks of trees, and a large sign marked the trailhead.
There is no parking area for the park, so those visiting the trail must park to the side of the road, but off of people’s lawns and away from road bends or corners. Trail use is free and pets are permitted. For information, call the Brewer Parks and Recreation Department at 989-5199.
Personal note: I discovered the Sherwood Forest Park Loop listed on www.brewermaine.gov while recovering from a stomach bug on Sunday morning, Jan. 27, 2013. I was looking for an easy trail in the Bangor area, so I wouldn’t have to travel far or stress out my body in cold weather. Temperatures reached a high of 20 degrees Fahrenheit that day, though high winds made it feel closer to 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
I’ll be honest. The first thing that came to mind when I saw Sherwood Forest Park on the list was, “Robin Hood!” He’s my favorite hero, by a long shot. My favorite Disney movie is “Robin Hood” (1973), and my favorite comedy is “Robin Hood, Men in Tights” (1993). I just love how he splits that arrow in twain. But before I get carried away, my spirits were only lifted further when I looked on a map to located Brewer’s Sherwood Forest, which is surrounded by streets named after characters and places of the medieval Robin Hood story; there’s “Maid Marion Lane” and “Nottingham Way,” to name a few. I knew this was the place to visit while recovering from a nasty winter sickness.
While walking the 0.5-mile loop — which was very easy to find, being at the end of Robin Hood Drive — I came upon a man walking his dog (on a leash, thank you), and we talked a bit about the big woodpeckers he’s seen while walking through the forest. I realized that the bridge that the Eagle Scout had built was quite the structure, not a simple bog bridge.
I also had the opportunity to observe a golden-crowned kinglet, a tiny bird with a bright yellow cap. This little bird doesn’t like to stay still, but I did manage to get a few photos. And later, with field guide, I learned that the kinglet was a male because he had both orange and yellow in his cap, ringed by black, while the female has only yellow, ringed by black. I’ve realized that the best way to learn about and remember birds is to take them one at a time.