The Oak in the Wye loop
Ancient Oak Tree in winter
The Ancient Oak tree stands in the centre of Oak Meadow which, in tern, sits in one of the forty or so major loops in the River Wye as it meanders from its source at
Plynlimon down the Wye Valley to where it drains into the Severn at Chepstow.
The tree has, in the past, been mentioned in numerous articles about journeys down the Wye and had postcards have been made of it [see below], such was its acclaim.
In the aerial photo on the right, the oak is in the centre of the shot and is the lighter coloured tree.
Locally it is often referred to as the "Doomsday Oak", implying that it has been there since the Doomsday
survey in 1086, but this is more likely to be local hype based on attracting tourism or similar.
One source1 says that the Oak Tree was planted back in Queen Elizabeth I time (1533-1603) making the tree now around 500 years old.
Another source2 says that the Oak was planted in Henry VIII (1491-1547) time making the tree slightly older.
The Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-73 says that records preserved in the town appear to state that the tree was over
1,100 years old making it now 1232 years old. It goes on to say that a great portion of the remains of it were destroyed by fire in 1854.
Other details from Littlebury's Directory are that the gigantic oak tree reputedly once stood on the edge of the stream [the river] and "from the very visible addition
which has been made to this meadow within the last few years, there is no doubt that such was the case." It appears that the size of the meadow had been
increased but it is not stated if this was a natural increase or a 'man-made' addition (although this does seem to be the implication).
Even back in 18861 the tree was described as "a rare old oak". Because the tree was hollow it goes on to say "which now forms a shed to shelter sheep",
from which the sketch to the right was drawn, as a roof was put into the centre of the trunk.
Ross, The Old Oak Tree
[Published by Frith's]
Ancient Oak Tree in late spring
The Art Journal - July 1886 - "Down the Wye" by T. Raffles Davison
Tourist Net UK - 5th January 2008 - http://www.touristne.../towns/rossonwye.htm
GENUKI - 5th January 2008 - http://www.genuki.or...oss/History1876.html
[Page updated: Jan 22 2012 11:05:43]