SK6267 : Sherwood Forest, The Queen Oak (Major Oak)

taken 4 years ago, near to Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, Great Britain

Sherwood Forest, The Queen Oak (Major Oak)
Sherwood Forest, The Queen Oak (Major Oak)
The Major Oak is a huge English oak tree (Quercus Robur, or pedunculate oak) near the village of Edwinstowe in the heart of Sherwood Forest. Estimated to weigh approx. 23 tons, it has a girth of 33 feet and its branches spread to over 92 feet; it is estimated to be about 800 years old.

According to folklore, its hollow trunk was used as a hideout by Robin Hood’s men, though if Robin was, as legend suggests, active in the 12th or 13th century this tree would only have been a sapling then.

The earliest recorded name for this remarkable oak, dating back to the mid 18th century, was the Cockpen Tree; the hollow interior is said to have been used to pen cockerels ready to be used in the now illegal sport of cock fighting. Later it was known as the Queen Oak. In 1790, Major Hayman Rooke, included the tree in his popular book about the ancient oaks of Sherwood. It thus became known as The Major‘s Oak, and later simply The Major Oak.

Because of its national importance, conservation measures to the tree have been carried out continually since 1908. In Edwardian times, metal chains were used to support its weighty branches, and lead sheet attached to protect the trunk. In the late seventies, these measures were replaced by large wooden struts, supporting the heaviest branches and today, slender steel poles prop the sprawling limbs of this forest giant. Tree surgeons check the oak periodically and carry out remedial work as needed.

In June 2002, the Tree Council designated the Major Oak one of fifty Great British Trees in recognition of its place in the national heritage.
Sherwood Forest Country Park
Sherwood Forest is world famous as the legendary home of Robin Hood, outlaw hero whose adventures have enthralled generations, but whose true origins lies shrouded in the mists of time (LinkExternal link Nottinghamshire County Council, Robin Hood history) . Today, Sherwood Forest is much valued for its unique ecological importance. Broadleaf woodland was once very common in the British Isles, but is now a threatened habitat.

For centuries ancient oaks and the natural sandy heathland of the forest have evolved in a distinct and fascinating ecosystem. The natural decay of fallen timber means the woodland teems with insect life and fungi, which in turn provide food for varied species of birds and bats. Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve contains some of the oldest trees in Europe, veteran oaks five centuries old and the world-famous Major Oak, still producing acorns after standing at the heart of the forest for an estimated 800 years.

The 450 acre country park is part of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, designated in 2002 by Natural England (website: LinkExternal link the Government agency responsible for safeguarding our natural environment.

The site is managed by Nottinghamshire County Council and maintained by our country park rangers, working to a woodland management plan drawn up in partnership with English Nature. Each year Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which is located near the village of Edwinstowe, welcomes around 350,000 visitors.

LinkExternal link Sherwood forest Country Park (Nottinghamshire County Council).
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SK6267, 110 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Monday, 9 September, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Tuesday, 17 September, 2013
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Woodland, Forest 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 6204 6793 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:12.2898N 1:4.3574W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 6202 6791
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Other Tags
Sherwood Forest  Nature Reserve  Country Park  Mediaeval  Medieval  Tree  English Oak  Quercus Robur  Pedunculate Oak 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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