Imagine a day when Robin Hood becomes Robin Who.
According to recent research that day could be fast approaching as a survey by Center Parcs found out that tales that form the backbone of British culture and heritage might never be heard again.
The research revealed that nearly a quarter of the nation (24 per cent) can’t name even one story from folklore.
Center Parcs commissioned the study as it celebrates 30 years at Sherwood Forest – famous home of the legendary hero Robin Hood.
The findings revealed that, when presented with a list of folklore stories, 80 per cent of people are familiar with Robin Hood – probably thanks to the many films based on him - however similar tales are set to be forgotten within a generation.
Out of the thousands of stories that have shaped our history and popular culture – such as King Arthur, Jack the Giant Killer and even the Loch Ness Monster - Britons can only name two legendary tales on average.
The future doesn’t seem any brighter for folklore in generations to come, as almost two thirds (64 per cent) of people say they don’t intend to pass on the stories to their own children. One in five of us (20 per cent) can’t remember the tales to retell them, which may contribute towards the problem.
This is despite two thirds (66 per cent) of people saying they believe traditional stories, myths, and legends help develop children’s imaginations, and almost half (45 per cent) thinking they help teach our children valuable lessons.
Furthermore, seven in ten strongly believe folklore still plays a part in our society, with over half (55 per cent) of British people saying the stories inspire the best literature, television and films – such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.
Colin Whaley, marketing director at Center Parcs said: “Storytelling is a great way to bring families together, sharing tales with one another and bonding as they re-live family favourites.
“In the year that we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our arrival in Sherwood Forest – the home of folklore ‘celebrity’ Robin Hood – we’re particularly sad to hear that the future of folklore is in jeopardy.
“We want to help people re-discover tales they might have forgotten, not only keeping the legendary history of our nation alive, but also helping to encourage special family time sharing the almost forgotten art of verbal storytelling.”
In response to the findings, Center Parcs has teamed up with The Folklore Society to create a Folklore Map of Britain. Showcasing some of the most accessible and famous legends from across the nation, including Mermaid’s Pool at Kinder Scout, Derbsyhire, the map aims to remind the public of tales they may have forgotten and to encourage families to tell these once famous stories to one another again.
Jeremy Harte, British local lore expert, and committee member of The Folklore Society, said: “We’ve seen from this research that our rich folkloric tradition may be slipping through our fingers, which is deeply saddening and an issue we are passionate about tackling alongside Center Parcs.
“While there is a wealth of information about folklore on various tourist, council and heritage organisation sites, there clearly may be a decline in stories being passed from generation to generation in the traditional way.
“By curating this map, we hope to remind people of the fabled history in their local areas, and hope to see these stories re-told for generations to come.”