Oak tree largest recorded in region

MIGHTY oaks from little acorns grow - and this tree has certainly lived up to the 14th Century proverb!

Russell Claydon

MIGHTY oaks from little acorns grow - and this tree has certainly lived up to the 14th Century proverb!

With a girth so big it would take seven grown men to hug round its massive frame, it can lay claim to being the biggest recorded living tree in East Anglia.

And towering over Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, it is a quirky coincidence that the symbol of the village is none other than an oak tree.

The big secret about the estimated 750-year-old tree's standing in the region has come to light following a campaign to find and map the finest examples of ageing trees in the country - The Ancient Tree Hunt.

Organised by the Woodland Trust it has been recording trees on an online database since 2004 - with Suffolk's rural landscape thought to have a few hidden gems left to uncover yet.

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The impressive 9.7m-circumference tree first came to the attention of the Ancient Tree Hunt after Christine Clark, a Thurston parish councillor, reported it after often admiring it when out walking her dogs.

The oak, whose true age cannot be known for sure unless it is cut down and its rings analysed, is believed to be one of the oldest-living trees in Suffolk, but certainly the biggest recorded in the region.

Howard Leader, a volunteer verifier for the Ancient Tree Hunt, who measured the Thurston oak, on private land visible to walkers from Pepper Lane, said: “There is one at Ickworth Park possibly older than that (750 years) but not bigger. I thought it was a magnificent tree. It really is glorious.

“Because it is growing in very good conditions it is not showing many of the typical signs of ageing.”

Anyone who spots a tree they think worthy of recording can contact Mr Leader on 01473 311743 or log on to www.ancient-tree-hunt.org