(-1) – English Oak

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  • Species
    • English Oak
  • Botanical Name
    • Quercus rober
  • Location
    • Opposite side of path to the Mill Pond at Fetcham Springs.
    • Grid Reference: TQ 15774, 56275
    • Latitude, Longitude: 51.293845, -0.34095633
    • What3Words: part.fault.stored
  • Girth (circumference of trunk at 1.5m height)
    • 3.6 meters
  • Estimated Age
    • 175 years
  • Identification
    • Mature oaks are large, spreading trees with a dense crown and a grey and fissured trunk. Leaves are deeply lobed on very short stalks and the separate male and female flowers or catkins appear in the spring with the new leaves. Like all other oaks, the English oak reproduces by means of acorns. They sit in cups and are held on long stalks.
  • About this species
    • The English oak is a native tree and a symbol of strength and endurance. The oak grows for 300 years, rests for 300 years and slowly declines for 300, so this one is still quite young. The oldest oaks in the UK are 800-1,000 years old. The other UK species of oak is the sessile or dormast oak (Quercus patraea). The English oak traditionally produced the best timber for shipbuilding and was also used in the construction of cathedrals, churches, houses and barns. It is extremely important for wildlife, and can support several hundred species of moth alone. Oaks seem to be failing to regenerate naturally within woodland, possibly due to the lack of light since the ending of coppicing. This has led to concerns about the future of the species. Boundary oaks originated as stopping points in the pagan ritual of beating the bounds and became Christianised as Gospel oaks. Druids worshipped ancient oak groves and sought out trees bearing mistletoe as its lack of connection to the ground was considered magical.
  • Local Information
    • To find out how to estimate the age of an oak tree go to: http://www.wbrc.org.uk/atp/Estimating%20Age%20of%20Oaks%20-%20Woodland%20Trust.pdf There are many ancient oaks on Ashtead Common. Most are pollards. Pollarding is an old form of management in which trees were cut back to 2 or 3 meters high. This would encourage the tree to develop multiple stems and would also give the tree a new lease of life. The area around many of the old oaks on Ashtead and Bookham Commons has been cleared. This "halo" gives them more light, helping them survive for longer.
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