BRITISH OAKARCHIE MILES Book Number: 90093 Product format: Hardback
Fifty lovingly described tree profiles are at the heart of this lavishly produced book, describing ancient giants of our landscape such as the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, which according to folklore was the meeting-place of Robin Hood and his band. Oaks and their mythology are deeply embedded in British culture, and other ancient trees are the Shire Oak or Skyrack near Headingley, Leeds, which marked the boundary of the Norse wapentake, and the Gog and Magog oaks near Glastonbury in Somerset, named after two mythical giants deriving from Celtic culture. The density of British woodland in pre-Neolithic eras is still very much under debate, but from the Neolithic onwards oak woods were part of the landscape, valued as construction timber, fuel and charcoal for smelting. Some areas are particularly noted for their oaks, and the green recesses of Savernake Forest have an atmospheric quality encapsulated by the famous 1000-year-old Big Belly Oak, where tradition has it that the devil will appear to anyone who dances naked round it at midnight. Herne's Oak in Windsor Great Park was involved in a feud between Richard II and his keeper and is mentioned in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor. By the 13th century, woods were owned and managed by individuals, but the culture of deliberately planting oaks was only started in the 17th century by Charles II. Oaks had particular significance for Celts and Druids, a reverence revived in the 19th century by romantic writers such as Francis Kilvert. The book has chapters discussing the oaks of deer parks, oaks in folklore and literature, and the importance of oak for shipbuilding. 304pp, superbly illustrated in colour.
Published price: £30
Bibliophile price: £12.00