The Mighty Oak
The history of the oak tree dates way back to the very beginnings of human life in Britain. The oak tree was sacred to our ancient forefathers of the Pagan religion and acorns were carried for good luck and to ward off illness or bad spirits. Not just in Britain was the oak tree seen as something special as even the Romans and Greeks saw the tree as sacred. Here, we celebrate everything that the mighty oak has done for us since the beginning of time.
The oak tree is in the beech family of trees and is formally known as the Pedunculate Oak or Quercus. It is actually the national tree of the nation, in honour of its great strength and maturity. Oak trees have been around for a lot longer than we have, with the earliest remains dating back to around 300,000 years ago. If you’re considering an Oak CarPort, visit http://www.bespoaktimberframes.co.uk/portfolio_page/oak-carport/ for more information.
The oak tree is commonly found the South and East of England and is still the most commonly found tree despite our woodlands shrinking in size. If an oak is left in an open space, it will spread majestically outwards with low hanging branches that are great to climb! When growing in a restricted wooded area, the tree will adapt and grow tall and thin. The oak has extremely deep roots so remains healthy even in drought conditions. They can also tolerate watery conditions too and can remain in this state for long periods of time seemingly unaffected.
If you’re on the hunt for the country’s biggest oak tree, it can be found in the iconic Sherwood Forest with a staggering width of 33 feet, weighing 23 tons and could be as old as 1000 years! Such is the durability of oak wood that you can still see oak furniture that was made in the 14th century and before. It’s a versatile wood and has been used for wine barrels, building frames and helps to smoke cheese. The traditional Christmas yule log was an oak log decorated with sprigs of holly and mistletoe.
When people began to build great ships, oak was in high demand. Drake and Nelson between them used up the wood of 2,500 trees for the ships that they commissioned. Thankfully, they were grown specifically for this purpose. Fortunately for the shipbuilders, oak trees grow very fast during the first 100 years of its life. By the time the First World War broke out, there was a serious shortage of oak and that was when the Forestry Commission came into being to save existing woodlands and plant new ones.
Oak has been a popular choice for furniture for hundreds of years and is still one of the preferred woods today. This trend is still expanding and has been since countries like China and India greatly increased their export of the wood over the last decade or so. It is widely used in building thanks to its durability and its aesthetically pleasing appearance.