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The Druid's Oak

Why it's called the Druid's Oak we don't know, but it seems like a suitably evocative name for a tree with such history...

18 February 2008

The Druid's Oak is part of the Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire; a woodland of some 450 trees, of which this is almost certainly the oldest. With a girth approaching nine metres its age is certainly justified by the size of the tree.

Link to the Druid's Oak

According to estimates the age varies between 400 and 1000 years old but is thought to be closer to the upper end of the scale. One description of the tree comes from a visitor back in 1971:

'....that particular common could fitly have been dedicated to pilgrims kneeling reverently, chanting, for in its center stood a PRESENCE. An oak it was so firmly rooted in England, so ponderously unshakeable, so full of good years - of good centuries - so smilingly presenting its leaves to yet another season.'

This woodland is a National Nature Reserve and is famous for its Beech pollards. It is perhaps one of the most unique sites in the country, thanks to the pollarding which took place after years of neglect. The woodland has been visited by countless artists, musicians and poets, all of whom gained inspiration from the many varied trees within.

One such visitor was the composer Mendelssohn, whom according to legend composed some of the music for A Midsummer Night's Dream when visiting the wood.

*thanks to Helen Read at the Burnham Beeches offices for the above information

Druid's Oak. Photo Katherine Owen