The “Royal” Remedy Oak : Just an Ordinary Tree?

A couple of times recently I’ve driven over to Woodlands, a small hamlet between Wimborne and Cranborne, to survey the intriguingly named Remedy Oak for the Ancient Tree Hunt. I must admit it’s very easy to miss, blink and you’ve driven past, but get out of your car and walk around it and I promise you will not be disappointed.

The Remedy Oak

From a distance it’s just another oak tree but as you get nearer you realise just how big it is. To give you some idea of scale my arms wouldn’t even stretch a quarter of a way around this tree if I tried to hug it (which is something I frequency do to trees).

From the road it’s statuesque with a fetching Pisa-esque lean.

The Remedy Oak

Go round to the side and you start to see it’s hidden secret. It’s hollow but not only hollow, half it’s trunk is completely missing.

The Remedy Oak

Go round to the back and you are looking into the living, breathing heart of a giant oak. I measured it’s girth and at 1.15m from the ground it has a 6.42m girth (that’s about 19 feet 8 inches in old money) or just over 4 adult hugs!

The Remedy Oak

So what’s its “royal” connection? Well legend has it that the Boy King, King Edward VI (1537-1553) who came to the throne at the age of 9, was supposed to have sat under the tree and “touched for Kings Evil”.

Kings Evil was a custom that started in medieval times whereby the King (of England or France) could touch people who had skin diseases (especially tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes of the neck) and it was supposed to heal them. Hence the Remedy Oak. Monarchs were supposed to have received this power through direct decent from Edward the Confessor.

The Remedy Oak and Son...

So, back to the tree. It’s held up now with two massive metal wires. Without them it would definitely fall onto the road. In the last few years the local Council has also planted a “Remedy Oak” son next to it.  You can see it in the picture above. So that when the time does come, there will be another oak to take it’s place.

Wood Anemones with the Remedy Oak behind

Growing all around are Wood Anemones (a sign of an ancient wood) which carpet the ground with their white petals, along with bluebells, snowdrops, daffodils (not native!) and lesser celandine. I thought the wood anemones deserved a closer photo. What a beautiful little flower. I’ve never looked at them in detail before.

Wood Anemone

The tree itself is lined with mosses, ferns (below) and an invasive rhododendron has also crept in. I will let the Council know and see if they can carefully remove it. No way I’m climbing up there to get it!


So, is this my new “favourite” tree. It isn’t. It’s amazing and beautiful to look at but it’s also sad. It doesn’t have the safe, stability of Adams Oak, the first truly ancient tree I found.

The Remedy Oak is in it’s final years. It’s hanging on to life (literally) by two thin metal wires. I’m just glad I’ve had the opportunity to run my hands over it’s bark and look up into it’s towering branches.


21 thoughts on “The “Royal” Remedy Oak : Just an Ordinary Tree?

  1. We’ll stop and hug a bit of it next time we drive by! The woods at Clenston are carpeted with bluebells, wood anemones, primroses and wild garlic. We saw our first bluebells in flower (only two) last week and are going back at the weekend when the wild garlic should be flowering.. so mum can take some artistic photos of me amongst the flowers – calendar pics for next year! Teagan x

    • Haven’t seen any bluebells out yet, just lots of green leaves! The wild garlic should look lovely at the moment… I might go in search of some at the weekend. Bit smelly though! Look forward to seeing the calendar pics of you in the flowers…

  2. Beautiful series. I particularly like the images of the tree in the beginning of the series. You did very well to get the details of the trunk, the moss etc.

    • Hi Thomas. Not up to the quality of your gorgeous photographs, but at least they tell a story. Which was what I was hoping. Really glad you liked the post.

  3. Oh yes Jane… I can see why you love this tree so! What a wonderful speciamen and a great subject for a variety of artworks too. Now… as for the wood anemonies they are my most favourite of all woodland flowers. I remember seeing carpets and carpets of them on a local riverside walk as a child. Thanks for taking me back 😀

  4. What an amazing tree (and it’s so sad to think it won’t be there forever) and an interesting story well told Jayne. Like you, I’ve never looked at a wood anemone so closely but appreciate the detail now – thanks.

  5. Jane, that’s a magnificent old oak! I find it hard to believe that something that old and worn can still keep going.
    Love your wood anemone shots – such a beautiful, delicate flower.

  6. We found it by chance today after looking for it in vain last year. The rhododendron you describe has been removed, but another has popped up inside the base.

    Baz & Tee Manning

    • Thank you Baz & Tee. I’m so glad you found it! It is such a gorgeous tree, full of so much history. It was probably a bit early for the Wood Anemones to be out, but if you get the chance, it’s worth going back to see them in March. I’m glad the rhody was removed, but sounds like they didn’t get it all… oh well, someone will have to climb up and get it again! 🙂

  7. Hi Jane,

    Great images of a great tree!

    I’m currently working on a magazine which includes an article about the UK’s most iconic trees. The “Royal” Remedy Oak is one of those trees and we’d really like to use your photograph (remedy-oak-7) for the feature.

    I’d really appreciate it if you could contact me to discuss this. My email address is:

    Thank you,


    • John, from Wimborne if you take the B3078 towards Cranborne, then turn off right onto the B3081 after the Horton turning on your left, a short way along here you need to turn right onto the Horton Road and the Remedy Oak is literally just on the left as your turn into Horton Road. It’s well worth a visit – especially when the wood anemones are blooming!

  8. When I was last there in 2011 I went to see the Remedy Oak. Although getting old I feel it still has a way to go & I`m pleased to see it has a pup to eventually take it`s place. I am very familiar with it as I used to live just up the road and often walked to `Remedy`. I wonder if anyone else felt a `presence` on the road from Woodlands to Remedy, in the gateway on the left. It wasn`t just me, I had a Pekingese that would become so distressed at that point that I had to stop taking him along that stretch of road. The last time I was there it had disappeared.

    • That’s very interesting – thanks! Yes, I hope you’re right and that it survives for many years to come, it’s an amazing oak, and must have had a fascinating past.

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