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The Major Oak is a large English Oak (Quercus robur) near the village of Edwinstowe in the midst of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. According to local folklore, it was Robin Hood's shelter where he and his merry men slept. It weighs an estimated 23 tons, has a girth of 33 feet (10 metres), a canopy of 92 feet (28 metres), and is about 800–1000 years old. In a 2002 survey, it was voted "Britain's favourite tree". In 2014 it was voted 'England's Tree of the Year' by a public poll by the Woodland Trust, receiving 18% of the votes.
There are several theories concerning why it became so huge and oddly shaped:
- The Major Oak may be several trees that fused together as saplings.
- The tree was possibly pollarded, a system of tree management that enabled foresters to grow more than one crop of timber from a single tree, causing the trunk to grow large and thick. However, there is only limited evidence for this theory as none of the other trees in the surrounding area were pollarded.
Since the Victorian era its massive limbs have been supported partially by an elaborate system of scaffolding.
In 2003, in Dorset a plantation was started of 260 saplings grown from acorns of the Major Oak. The purpose was to provide publicity for an Internet-based study of the Major Oak, its history, photographic record, variation in size and leafing of the saplings, comparison of their DNA, and an eventual public amenity.
- Paul A. Biggs; Sandra Biggs (1999). Best Tea Shop Walks in Nottinghamshire. Sigma Leisure. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-85058-684-5.
- Nottinghamshire County Council. "Sherwood Forest Country Park". nottinghamshire.gov.uk.
- "'Robin Hood' Major Oak wins Tree of the Year competition". BBC. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- "Major Oak". Nottinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- "Illegal acorns for sale on net". BBC.
- "Planting a new Oak Wood in Dorset". eyemead.com.
- Imperial War Museum website; badge, formation, 46th (North Midland and West Riding) Infantry Division
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- references to Major Oak and Major Oak Day.
- Recorded information about the Major Oak on the Ancient Tree Hunt
- More information about the Major Oak