Posted by: Ross Gardner | July 2, 2013

A remarkable tree

Trees in general are pretty remarkable organisms.  So though, particularly more so than others.  One such tree I encountered last weekend.  It stands in a North Essex village that I have driven near many times before, but have never driven through.  On Saturday I discovered what I had been missing.

The tree in question is the ‘Fingringhoe Oak’, a 600  year old (give or take) tree of magnificent proportions, one perhaps for fellow blogger quixotree, who I know looks in on these pages from time to time.  It is to the Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Fingringhoe Wick that I have visited without diverting into the village to meet this wonderful tree.  As with many ancient trees there is a tale attached to its presence through the centuries.  In this case it is of a pirate hanged on the village green and buried with an acorn in his mouth.  It was this acorn, of course, which went on to grow into the Fingringhoe Oak.

The Fingringhoe Oak.  Ross Gardner 2013

The Fingringhoe Oak. Ross Gardner 2013

The picture with person perched on the great, gnarly butresses provides the sense of scale that can be hard to capture in a photograph; even about the more regular section of the trunk it measured more than 6 metres around its girth.  Standing beneath it one gained a strong sense of the tree, not only as an organism, but as an ecosystem in its own right.  The fissures of the bark provide niches for unseen spiders to spin webs.  Larger animals have burrowed and carved out their own recesses on the ground among the butresses and roots, among which a garden of Elder, Hawthorn and Holly have taken root.  Who knows what else throngs silently among the great leafy crown.

It is an old, old oak and still seems in fine fettle.  Another 600 years perhaps?

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