Sturts Trail – Veteran oak
Veteran oak in the hedgerow
As you pass through this gateway pick up the footpath heading to your right.
Many ancient hedgerows and notable trees can be found at the Sturts, including this magnificent 400-year-old veteran oak. Back when this tree was a tiny acorn the landscape here was completely different, made up of, mostly, wood pasture and common land instead of the agricultural landscape we see now.
What makes this oak even more special is the distinctive split in the main trunk, where it was struck by lightning many years ago! The crevices and hollowed-out centre of the tree provide vital habitat for many different species, including fungi, mosses and lichens, and insects which need the special conditions provided by decay to lay their eggs and feed their larvae. Look closely to see the holes of wood-boring insects living inside the crevice. Dead branches and hollow centred trunks of trees are part of the long-life cycle of oak trees which can survive to be over 800 years old.