JANUARY SALE Subscribe for just £5 today CLICK HERE

Historic trees in Kent

PUBLISHED: 09:37 28 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:34 28 June 2017

The Fredville Oak, known as 'Majesty', is in the woods of a private estate at Nonington, near Canterbury and around 600 years old

The Fredville Oak, known as 'Majesty', is in the woods of a private estate at Nonington, near Canterbury and around 600 years old

Archant

An historian who wrote a book devoted to dendrology in Britain and Ireland has revisited some of the magnificent specimens to retell their stories

Monkey Puzzle treeMonkey Puzzle tree

Trees are extraordinary creatures: the biggest living things in these islands, heavier than any land animal, taller than most buildings, older than many ancient monuments. And nowhere are they found in greater profusion than close to where millions live. Yet these are the wonders we take for granted, and only notice when disaster strikes, like the elm plague which destroyed most of the elm trees in Britain.

Today a host of alarming new diseases, introduced from the East, are affecting many of our common trees.

When I recently revisited many of the 60 trees from my book Meetings With Remarkable Trees to see how they were coping, it turned out that about half a dozen had died – skittled over by hurricanes, succumbing to disease or simply dying of old age. But the majority had survived, even if battered by storms.

The first group of trees I looked at for my book were natives, dominated, of course, by England’s majestic oaks. And the finest of all, thank heavens, is still hale and hearty.

It’s the Fredville Oak, known as ‘Majesty’ ever since the 18th century, and tucked away in the woods of a private estate at Nonington, near Canterbury.

Its prodigious girth, 40 feet round, when measured at five feet from the ground, makes it one of the champion oaks of Europe.

‘Majesty’ has all the masterful qualities traditionally supposed to symbolise the British nation, including super-human strength and fortitude. Yet it is elegant, too: a hollow tower rising 70 or 80 feet above the scrub.

How old is this battered monarch? Its age is anybody’s guess. You can date a tree with a solid trunk by drilling it with an auger and counting the annual rings. But Majesty is hollow.

My guess is that it’s about 600 years old and was already notable before another Majesty, Elizabeth I, came to the throne.

Find out more

Read more in the summer issue of My Countryside, the magazine from the Countryside Alliance. Visit countryside-alliance.org to find out more or subscribe at subscriptionsave.co.uk/CMC0617C

More from Out & About

Friday, January 24, 2020

The season of romance is in the air and with fairytale castles, literary tales and iconic White Cliffs, where better to pop the question than in the Garden of England? Here are 10 of Kent's perfect places to propose

Read more

When funds are low and the family is going stir-crazy stuck indoors, here is some fun, free stuff to get you through

Read more
Monday, January 20, 2020

The beautiful Hever Castle will launch snowdrop season with a talk followed by a woodland walk

Read more

Regularly voted one of Kent's best places to live, and with easy access to London, let's celebrate Sevenoaks

Read more
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The elusive snowdrop can be hard to find and before you know it, they're gone again, so we saved you the trouble and found some beautiful spots in Kent to go for a walk among the snowdrops

Read more

Want to get fitter, feed your brain or start a new hobby? The National Trust can help kickstart your 2020 plans

Read more

The run-up to Christmas can be stressful, so escape for a while by spending time reconnecting with nature

Read more
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Farmer Sandra Fagg adores Christmas and now she and husband Mike run their own reindeer centre and grotto

Read more
Friday, December 6, 2019

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more
Friday, December 6, 2019

The swashbuckling panto opens this month to Dartford's Orchard Theatre and is sure to keep the whole family laughing

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life