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Blidworth Library

Blidworth Library, July 2023. Picture Source: Paul Fillingham.

Stage 1

Blidworth Library

Following investment from the Libraries Improvement Fund, Blidworth Library reopened in 2023 with a fresh stock of books and resources. The local history section details the development of the village, including its folklore and medieval past.

Whilst the legend of Robin Hood is known world-wide, the stories of our local author James Prior (1851-1922) are less well known. Born in Mapperley, Nottingham, Prior was familiar with Blidworth as his uncle owned a butcher’s shop in Blidworth. His most notable work ‘Forest Folk’ depicts life in the village during the Luddite riots of the 1800s. 

James Prior

Illustration of James Prior, based on the portrait by artist Noel Denholm David. The whereabouts of the original painting is unknown.

Published in 1901, Forest Folk documents rural life as locals grappled with the shock of industrialisation, unemployment and lack of food in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. 

2016 reprint of Forest Folk

Blidworth library contains several versions of James Prior’s Forest Folk. This edition, funded by UNESCO was published by Spokesman Press in 2016.

Prior’s description of the landscape, combined with local dialect, make Forest Folk a significant literary work that was recognised by two of the county’s writers: DH Lawrence (Son’s and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, Lady Chatterley’s Lover), and JM Barrie (Peter Pan). 

As we progress along the trail, we will learn how Blidworth is connected with Robin Hood, his Merrie Men and Maid Marrion. In the next stage of the trail you can listen to an excerpt from Forest Folk about the equally rebellious Tant Rideout and the Nottingham Luddites. 

AFC Blidworth

The former Church Hall, home to the Blidworth Army Cadet Force (AFC).

As we leave the library, directly opposite at the junction of New Lane and New Road is the former Church Hall, home of the Blidworth Detachment of the Notts Army Cadet Force.

The ACF enables young people (aged 12-18) to get involved in first aid training, military drill, map reading and orienteering. The village has important links with several notable military figures that we will encounter on this trail.

Housing Development

New housing development, New Lane, Blidworth.

Further along New Lane, you will notice that the new housing development has street names like  ‘Forest Folk Drive’ and ‘Prior Close’ – a direct reference to the village’s literary heritage.

As we progress along New Lane, the setting becomes more rural and closer to the Blidworth that James Prior depicts in Forest Folk.

James Prior Street Sign

Prior Close street-sign, off New Lane.


Head along New Lane, past the cottage on the right, and bear right. Continue past the woodland on your left until you see the ‘Freedom Camping Club’ signage on your right.

Directly opposite is ‘The Bull Piece’, a quiet meadow with a steep incline that is flanked by trees.  Here you will find several wooden benches where you can sit, relax, and listen to an excerpt from James Prior’s novel.