The construction of this fantastic abbey was started in 1147, and local legend has it that Robin Hood himself regularly worshipped here. In the 12th century the site was well within the boundary of the famous Sherwood Forest and is only 17 miles east of Loxley, the reputed birthplace of the heroic outlaw.
The abbey was constructed with very fine dolomite limestone from local quarries, which would later be used to build many important buildings in London as well as Windsor Castle. It was a moderately sized but important Cistercian monastery, housing 50 monks and 100 lay brothers, until being forcibly closed by Henry VIII in the 16th century during the dissolution of the monasteries.
After the dissolution the locals took the attitude that they had first dibs on the building materials, and now what remains of the medieval structure is just a shadow of what once stood. Still, the ruins are very impressive and beautiful to behold. The abbey site sits at the end of an attractive limestone gorge, and the ruins are extra atmospheric during foggy days.