Oak is one of the UK’s most beloved species of tree. Renowned in history and legend, the oak is home to thousands of species and has been valued for centuries for its societal and economic benefits. It is our second most common broadleaved tree, and there are more gnarly old oak trees in England than in the whole of Northern Europe put together. The latest issue of Wood Wise, our tree and woodland conservation magazine, explores the story of our beautiful oak trees.
A nation built on oak
This issue tells the story of oak, beginning with how this species contributed to the rise of the UK as a superpower. Over the centuries, oak has been used to build ships, wine barrels and the roof of St Paul’s Cathedral, heated homes, fuelled iron works and fattened swine.
Across the UK, many individual oak trees have interesting stories, such as the Bowthorpe Oak in Lincolnshire. With a girth of 12.44m, in the mid-18th century 12 people comfortably sat inside its hollow trunk for tea!