Photo credit: Tessa Chan
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The Crouch Oak, Addlestone, Surrey
The Crouch Oak has a long and storied history. It was supposedly the marker point for the eastern edge of Windsor Forest, back when the Forest covered a much larger area, and served as the King’s hunting grounds. Queen Elizabeth the first is said to have picnicked beneath its branches, at which point it would already have been well established.
In the past it was also known as Wycliffe’s Oak, named for the radical priest John Wycliffe, who is said to have preached under the tree to his followers in the 14th century, after having been expelled from Oxford for his teachings.
In the early 19th century the tree was fenced off by the landowner, as local young women had been stripping bark from the oak in order to make love potions! Fortunately, they didn’t do any lasting damage, and today the oak stands proud, unfenced, one heavy bough supported by a pole. It is a rare example of an urban ancient oak tree.
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