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.