Ancient Oaks

I wrote a post yesterday about otters on the river Stour. What I’d actually set out to photograph was a tree. I know they’re completely different and hard to confuse (one being old and gnarled and the other soft and cute) but when ever I go for a walk I always seem to get distracted. It must be my age!

Oak at Cowgrove

There are many old trees in Corfe Mullen, even the area that we are trying to protect from housing development includes an ancient copse. Trees are such great habitats for wildlife and play such an important part in all our lives that it seems only reasonable to want to protect them. Luckily lots of other people feel the same way, and this year the Woodland Trust launched the Ancient Tree Hunt, Mapping a Future for Ancient Trees.

In the words of The Woodland Trust “The Ancient Tree Hunt (ATH) involves thousands of people in finding and mapping all the fat, old trees across the UK and is right at the heart of the Woodland Trust’s ancient tree conservation work. It will create a comprehensive living database of ancient trees and it’s the first step towards cherishing and caring for them“.

So if you think you have any ancient trees near to where you live, how about recording them on the Ancient Tree Hunt website.

Oak at Cowgrove

I’ve started to do this in my “patch” and it’s surprising how many you can find and how attached you get to them. I have even started going back and looking at them in the different seasons, and checking they are OK. It’s also very good for your health to hug a tree on a regular basis!

The photographs above show an oak near the Stour that I photographed yesterday. I’m in the process of recorded it on the Ancient Tree website (I’ve already recorded it’s smaller brother), but wanted some more information and photographs. I’m not sure how old it is but with a girth of over 5 metres (1 metre larger than it’s brother!) it must be getting on for 300 or even 400 years old. Plus it has the most amazing hollow trunk and twisted branches. Somehow photographing it in the winter seems to accentuate it’s shape and strength even more. Awe inspiring.

Lastly I’d like to finish with a poem for Simon.

The Oak by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Then; and then
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall’n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength.


15 thoughts on “Ancient Oaks

  1. Hi there, Jane 🙂

    Very interesting post – I had never heard of this. I will always have a ‘thing’ for trees having sat for many hours in fields drawing them as a teenager. I too think that they look particularly beautiful in the winter and plan to get out and photograph some myself one weekend 😀

  2. Hi Shirl. Don’t forget to add them to the Database at the Woodland Trust if you take any photos! I dragged my husband out today to help me measure an ancient walnut tree. I will be writing an entry about it soon. It was enormous… I’ve never seen one as big! (not that I’ve seen that many walnut trees!) It’s not a bad pastime for cold winter days even better to draw them on a warm summers day!

  3. Hi Jane,

    It great to see you are out their hunting for ancient trees as you can see from my project we are working alongside the woodland trust Ancient tree Hunt.

    If you are interested in learning more about Dorset’s veteran trees you can always sign up to our email list for an e-newsletter which will tell you all about events happening around Dorset.

    Happy hunting

  4. Paula. It is glorious isn’t it. Makes me feel all insignificant when I stand next to it. Yes the poem was for Andrew’s brother, who sadly died on Sunday. The poem by Tennyson just seemed right.

  5. Emma. Thanks for visiting my diary. It would be great if we could encourage loads of people to go out looking for these beautiful trees, and writing about them in online blogs. I look forward to finding out about the other events happening in Dorset. The “hunt” continues!

  6. Pingback: Festival of the Trees, #19 « Hoarded Ordinaries

  7. Hi Jane’ If this is the tree I think it is; its The Waterman’s Oak in Weir Lane. It has its own history.
    Sadly it is vandalised on occasions hence the fence erected by the National Trust.

    • Tony. Yes this is the Waterman’s Oak. A wonderful tree, one of my favourites in the area. If you have any information on it, I’d love to know more. Thanks. Jane

  8. Hi Jane,
    I am an ancient tree protector and have some trees that need a bit of help. could you email me with any info?
    I have contacted Woodland Trust but would love to know about any other organisation or group doing this work. If we don’t get them logged somewhere they will be endangered.

    • Hi Wendy. Yes, if you live in Bournemouth still (I had a look at your website) then you can join the Dorset Greenwood Tree project, which is trying to record all the ancient trees in Dorset, see the following link

      All the information gathered in this project will be going to the Woodland Trust as well. I’m a member (and tree verifier) for the Ancient Tree Hunt (run by Woodland Trust). You can record your huggable trees here:

      or look on the database, and see what other trees have been found in your area.

      If you need any further information, please let me know.


  9. Hi jane, I visited the Remedy Oak recently and am keen to investigate further. Can you point me in the direction of any information I might find about remedy oaks etc.

    Best wishes

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