Cotswold Greats


Oak trees

The best things come to those who wait, and in the case of oak trees it’s not un­til Novem­ber that they’re ready to put on a glo­ri­ous dis­play of colour­ful fo­liage.

It’s also the time when large num­bers of acorns can be found on the ground, of­ten helped along by jays and grey squir­rels.

Bri­tain has two types of na­tive oak: pe­dun­cu­lates pro­duce acorns within cups at­tached to branches by long stalks, while ses­siles have al­most no stalks at all.

Both types grow up to be­tween 20 and 40 me­tres and de­velop broad and spread­ing crowns, al­though their progress slows once they’ve been around for 120 years. Leaf burst is gen­er­ally in mid-may, with coun­try folk mon­i­tor­ing oaks and ash for clues as to the weather.

The old­est oaks in Glouces­ter­shire in­clude a pen­dun­cu­late at East­wood Park in Fal­field with a girth of 11.52m and one at Sude­ley Lodge at Winch­combe mea­sur­ing 10.20m, while a spec­i­men at Hares­field was re­put­edly planted to mark the route from Berke­ley Cas­tle to Gloucester taken by the fu­neral cortege of Ed­ward II in 1327.

Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust na­ture re­serves with fine oak trees in­clude Lan­caut near Chep­stow, Betty Daw’s Wood near Newent and Lower Woods near Wick­war.

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