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Hello,

I run a plantation of 300 oak trees in Dorset grown from acorns taken from below the Major Oak in 2000 AD. They are all growing well, with a separation of 10 metres in a 7 acre field, the tallest is 9 feet and last year one tree produced a heavy crop of acorns. The land is part of a Private Nature Reserve of 27 acres on the banks of the River Stour. The header photo of the Major Oak on my website eyemead.com/majoroak.htm shows the big tree with the modern supports airbrushed out.

In 2008 I was given a chest-height slice of a Quercus Robur that had just died, being planted in 1850. Measuring the width of annual growth rings, these reached a maximum of 3.5 cms girth after 20 years age, before levelling down to 1 cm girth above age 100. In 1790 Major Hayman Rooke himself measured the girth of the Major Oak as 27 ft 4 in, 1 yard above the ground; 200 years later the girth was measured as 1059 cms. Plotting these two points on a graph also gives a girth growth rate of 1 cm per year, and an age of around 1,000 years for the Major Oak.

My transcription of Major Rooke's famous book "Remarkable Oaks" is on eyemead.com/RO-TEXT.htm, Plate 9 shows "An ancient Oak in Birchland Wood", drawn by H. Rooke, engraved by W. Ellis, published Dec 31, 1790. All the words are the correct way round, but perhaps you are right in thinking the tree is reversed, the publisher may not have noticed. The modern scar above and right of the entrance may be the remnant of the large branch in the engraving.

I have a collection of 150+ photos of the Major Oak, see eyemead.com/MAJORMOS.htm , the earliest of these is dated 1885.

John Palmer, Dorset, England.
 

 

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