Nottinghamshire (nŏtˈĭng-əmshĭr) [key], county (1991 pop. 980,600), 843 sq mi (2,183 sq km), central England. The county seat is at West Bridgford, in Rushcliffe. The county is divided into the administrative districts of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe. The land, partially reclaimed fenland, is low-lying and fertile. A southern area of moors devoted to pasturage is known as the Wolds. The principal river is the Trent. Sherwood Forest, with its legends of Robin Hood, includes the Dukeries, a district noted for its fine estates.
Cereal crops and sugar beets are grown. Dairying is extensive, and sheep are also raised. The Nottinghamshire coal fields extend along the western border and formerly made the county a coal mining center, especially at Nottingham (now independent of the county), Mansfield, and Worksop. There are small oil fields at Egmanton and Bothamsell. The mineral wealth also includes limestone, sandstone, and gravel. Hosiery, clothing, bicycles, lace, and other products are manufactured.
The county was a part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. It was there that Charles I unfurled his banner (1642) and marked the beginning of the civil war. Scrooby, the home of William Brewster, was the cradle of the Pilgrims. In 1974, Nottinghamshire was reorganized as a nonmetropolitan county; a small area in the northwest was assigned to the new metropolitan county of South Yorkshire (dissolved in 1986). Nottingham, the traditional county seat, was separated administratively from the county in 1998.