Oldest oak trees in Europe - level 3
Two world wars, a civil war, the Middle Ages, right back to the Normans. For nearly a millennium of history, these ancient oak trees have lived in Blenheim Palace grounds. They are the greatest collection in Europe.
“It’s not only, you could say, the age of the oaks, it’s the quantity of oaks that we’ve got in one single area, that’s growing on one single type of soil. And not only is that significant in the UK, that then expands up to Europe and actually it’s international significance, now.”
In the 12th century, Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror, hunted here. Back then, these trees were just babies. Now, they’re roughly 9 metres around and with circumference used to work out the age of medieval trees, that means they’re about 920 years old. But until now, no one knew of their significance. This discovery could very easily never have happened.
It was thanks to a request, the first to ever have been received from botanist Alios Farjon, who used to walk through the area.
“There’s no other site in England that has so many of these very big oaks in one place. And the other thing is, that the place is by and large, unaltered since the Middle Ages.”
It’s another piece of history for Blenheim Palace, which is well-known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. These trees have stood by while history rushes past and will continue to stand the test of time.
Difficult words: the Middle Ages (the time between the 5th century to the 15th century), the Normans (a group of Vikings), a millennium (1000 years), ancient (very old), quantity (the number), significant (important), expand (to grow), circumference (the size of the outside of a round object), medieval (relating to the Middle Ages), request (a formal demand for something), by and large (overall), unaltered (not changed), to stand the test of time (to last a very, very long time).
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