Digging up the past

For 25 years I have been trying to evaluate the viability of Black Oaks either as they are being dug up from the peat or immediately after. The very large ones are usualy broken up into random size pieces due to exposure before they were preserved. The longest one I have been able to piece together had an astonishing branchless length of 115 ft. However when these very large trees are trimmed to manageable lengths of no more than 12 ft it is possible to see the growing taper and so establish which way up they were. The stagering fact about The Jubilee Oak is that even though it was 44ft long we had no idea which way up it was. This could only mean that what we were looking at was only a small section of a much, much larger tree.

When faced with these huge trees emerging from the peat it always makes me wonder what it must have been like for nomadic family groups to wander through forests of such vast trees. The Jubilee Oak is giant amongst giants and so it was an opportunity to try and share this tantalising glimpse into the atmosphere of the ancient past. This is why we didn’t cut it into more sensible and manageable lengths.

Hamish Low