The Parliament Oak & Other Legendary Nottinghamshire Trees
With the legendary Sherwood Forest on the north Nottinghamshire’s doorstep, it is no wonder Nottinghamshire has some incredible trees. A walk through the lush and leafy glades of Sherwood Forest is a pleasure for the senses whatever the season, and a perfect way to unwind from the busy and modern world. For those who want to branch out a little further, there are numerous activities to take part in within the forest, from learning about conservation and local wildlife to flying around on zip wires at Go Ape.
You may have heard the tales relating to The Major Oak. Weighing an estimated 23 tonnes, with a girth of 10 metres and a spread of 28 metres, it is the biggest oak tree in Britain and thought to be between a staggering 800 and 1,000 years old. Most famously, the hollow interior of this grand and gnarly giant was the fabled hideout for Robin Hood & his Merry Men. A treasure of Nottinghamshire heritage, The Major Oak was crowned Woodland Trust Tree of the Year 2014. A must-see attraction in Nottingham, we recommend a visit to meet the tree at The Major Oak Woodland Festival on Sunday 17th September.
Another famous Nottinghamshire tree is known throughout the world for its famed tasty fruit. The original tree which bore the first Bramley Apple still exists in a Southwell garden, and is now almost 200 years old. Generating almost a cult status, the Bramley is revered in places like Japan, and is so well loved a festival is held in its name each year. You can read more about the Bramley story here.
Unfortunately, the Bramley was not successful when it was entered into the same award in 2016, and with such a strong heritage, we were a little stumped as to why. The winner, named Sycamore Gap, is located by Hadrian’s Wall and was featured in the 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, again harking back to the UK’s most renowned forest.
This year the Woodland Trust has branched out and put forward another significant Nottinghamshire tree for the award. The Parliament Oak stands in a layby by the A6075, but despite its modern surroundings, its historical roots are still truly fascinating.
Once part of a ring of oaks which bordered Clipstone deer park, a prestigious royal hunting grounds, the tree marked the Hell Dale Gate entrance for hundreds of years. Surviving fells during the English Civil War, it is thought to be a tree-mendous 1200 years old, making it one of the oldest trees left in Sherwood Forest.
The tree is so named because of an impromptu parliamentary meeting that took place under its shady branches during the era of King John 1st during which the king was advised of a mutiny by the Welsh, leading to the hanging of 28 Welshmen at Nottingham Castle for treason. Another story suggests Edward 1st also held a parliament here whilst on route to Scotland in 1290.
Having stood strong throughout the centuries, this craggy oak is now a little weary looking, its trunk having split in two sometime in the past 200 years. But regardless of appearance, the crucial historical moments which it has quietly observed makes this tree a legendary relic of our heritage and deserving of some extra love.
Now in its fourth year the Woodland Trust contest awards a £1000 care award to the winner of their Tree of the Year award. Ian Major of the Sherwood Forest Trust, said: “By voting for The Parliament Oak, people are celebrating a tree that has outlived kings and seen Sherwood Forest change beyond belief, they are also pledging support for the greatest heritage Forest in the UK.”
So what do you think, is there room for two champion trees in Sherwood Forest? We certainly think so. To vote for The Parliament Oak in the Woodland Trust Tree of the Year Awards, please follow this link. Voting closes on 8th October.
We wish The Parliament Oak every success in the award.