A sapling grown from an acorn harvested from the wonderful 1,350 year-old Offa’s Oak in Windsor Great Park has been planted by the RFS as a gift to Her Majesty the Queen, the charity’s Patron, to celebrate her 90th birthday.
The five-year-old English oak was presented by the charity’s President, Sophie Churchill OBE, to the Queen’s representative, Admiral Sir James Perowne, Governor of Windsor Castle.
Sophie said: “We are greatly honoured that Her Majesty has supported the RFS as our Patron throughout her long reign. Her Majesty is a knowledgeable and passionate countrywoman who shares the society’s commitment to the future of the nation’s landscape and the well-being of its trees and woodlands.
“As the country has benefited from the length and stability of her reign, so the Society has flourished under this, our longest royal patronage. Planting a tree with such a noble lineage will stand as a tribute to Her Majesty and a continuing reminder of the majesty of trees, for many future generations.”
The sapling has been planted on the Windsor Great Park golf course, close to an ancient oak which had to be felled. The growing of the tree is part of an ongoing programme by the Crown Estate to replenish the stock of oaks in the park, many of which have been there since medieval times or earlier.
Offa’s Oak is among more than 9000 recorded veteran trees protected and looked after by The Crown Estate at Windsor. The Park itself is designated a European Special Area of Conservation and a SSSI and famous for its ancient trees, of which oak is a key species. An important part of the work within the park focusses both on protecting these special trees and on creating continuity of future generations to support the very rare flora and fauna associated with them. The RFS tree is part of this process.
Some of the surviving veteran oaks date well before the time of William the Conqueror who is known to have used oak to help build Windsor Castle. In medieval times the park’s oaks helped build England’s powerful naval fleet and the estate is home to the first recorded plantation of oaks for forestry purposes in Britain, as instructed by Queen Elizabeth I.