The Major Oak, England’s Tree of the Year title holder, features on BBC Countryfile next week (June14).
The TV programme interviews Rob McBride, the Tree Hunter, during a trip to historic Sherwood Forest, to learn more about Nottinghamshire’s famous oak.
The Major Oak is visited each year by hundreds of thousands of visitors and the country park is managed by Nottinghamshire County Council.
The Major Oak is estimated to be around 1,000 years old, and was Robin Hood’s famous hideout. This stereoscopic image(attached below),courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council’s archives service, shows a man pictured in the tree in 1860 – one of the earliest shots of the tree on record.
The Major Oak was named as the Woodland Trust’s England Tree of the Year last autumn enabling it to qualify for the European Tree of the Year contest organised by the Environmental Partnership Association in February. It polled almost 10,000 votes beating entries from Wales, Scotland and Ireland but lost out to an eventual winner from Estonia.
Elsewhere in the programme, Matt Baker and the rest of the BBC Countryfile team will explore some of the crafts in the forest which are still carried out today such as timber milling by Patrick Turk and bodging (bodgers used unseasoned wood and hand tools to make chairs and household objects made of wood) with Bryan Eskriett and The Sherwood Forest Trust.
They will also visit the historic Parliament Oak near Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, ahead of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta on June 15 and also make reference to the Forest Charter which celebrates its 800th commemoration in 2017.
Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are very pleased the Major Oak and the wider Sherwood Forest are to feature on Countryfile. It is a world famous forest with a rich and diverse natural habitat and it was an honour that the public got behind the Major Oak’s bid to be crowned the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year for England last year.
“We also have two wonderful events coming up later this year which help to promote all that is unique about Sherwood Forest – the Robin Hood Festival from August 3-9 celebrating our famous outlaw and the Major Oak Woodland Festival on September 12 and 13. The woodland festival in partnership with The Sherwood Forest Trust will promote woodland management and crafts.”
The Tree Hunter Rob McBride is currently writing a book about his epic travels when he toured across Europe to visit all of the 14 trees competing for the European Tree of the Year. Mr McBride earned his nickname ‘The Tree Hunter’ after working on the Woodland Trust’s UK-wide Ancient Tree Hunt to record important trees on an interactive map and has appeared on national TV to talk about his work. Twitter: @thetreehunter and Facebook Group: Treehunters
After visiting Sherwood during the challenge, Rob said: “I was lucky enough to go behind the fence at Sherwood and see the Major Oak close up with one of the county council rangers and it is awe-inspiring. I have a real cultural connection to trees and this ancient oak is known throughout the world for its links to Robin Hood.”
The episode related to Sherwood Forest on Countryfile is broadcast on Sunday evening on June 14 on BBC One – timing to be confirmed. Find out more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t0bv/broadcasts/upcoming.