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24 September 2014
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Ten things you never knew about the Major Oak
The Major Oak - Sherwood Forest
The Major Oak - Sherwood Forest
The Major Oak has recently (November 2002) been nominated as the one of the top 50 trees in Britain by The National Tree Council. Below are some facts showing why the tree is rated so highly.
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1
The famous old tree stands at the heart of 450-acre Sherwood Forest Country Park and Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, run by Nottinghamshire County Council to provide a tourist attraction and educational site to match the reputations of both Robin and the Major Oak.
2
The Major Oak is a Quercus Robur, an English or pedunculate oak.
3
The Major Oak vital statistics are impressive – it weighs around 23 tons, has a girth of ten metres (33ft) and a spread of 28 metres (92ft) - this make it the biggest oak tree in Britain.
4
It is debatable how old the Major oak is. Some say 800 years old, while others reckon over 1000 years old - the trunk conceals the truth. Some say the Major Oak would have only been an acorn when Robin Hood is meant to have been gallivanting around Sherwood Forest.
5
The Major Oak's first recorded name was the Cockpen tree, a reference to its use as a cockerel pen to hold the birds before a cockfight. However, the tree became better known as "The Major's Oak" after it was described in 1790 by a local historian, Major Hayman Rooke. Throughout the 19th century it was also known as the Queen or Queen’s Oak.
6
The Major Oak needs a bit of support to hold its green head high these days. At present wooden poles are used to keep up the branches of the tree.
7
In a good year it can produce 150,000 acorns. However, good crops are cyclical. Generally, the tree has a good acorn crop, sometimes known as mast, every 3-4 years, depending on weather in spring and summer and the health of the mother. It is guessed that the next bumper year for acorns from the Major Oak will be 2004.
8
The oak actually has a great hollow interior. This is not man-made. It is actually caused by fungi.
9
John Palmer, formerly of Worksop, Notts, has 300 two-year old saplings grown from the acorns of the Major Oak, which he plans to plant in seven acres of land near his house. John must be the Major Oak's biggest fan. Please note, John has had special permission to collect the acorns from the Major Oak!
10
A researcher from London University has collected leaves from many saplings grown from the Major Oak's acorns to conduct a DNA search to discover who the fathers were and how far away they were situated from the mother (the Major Oak).


Other famous Nottinghamshire trees
The Major Oak is not the only famous tree in Nottinghamshire. The original Bramley hails from Southwell, Nottinghamshire. The first Bramley seedling apple tree was grown from pips planted by a young girl in her garden in 1809. In 1856 the son of a local nurseryman was given permission to take graftings from the tree and sell the apples, provided he called them after the tree’s then owner — Matthew Bramley.

Another famous Nottinghamshire tree is The Parliament Oak. It is found at the edge of Clipstone Forest, just off the A6075 between Edwinstowe and Mansfield.

King John is said to have taken counsel with his advisers under the oak in the 13th Century. However, at the moment (8th April 2003) the area around the tree has turned into an illegal dumping ground.

Parliament Oak
Parliament Oak

Parliament Oak
Parliament Oak

Parliament Oak
Parliament Oak
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