Tuesday 21 January 2020

"Arthur Rackham trees"

That's how my friend E described the ancient and magnificent trees we came across at Benbow Pond in West Sussex when we were out on our latest adventure. This is what we saw.......

One of two very venerable old sessile oaks. As a child I would have loved to have been able to go right through the middle of this one.

This one however, is its more famous sibling and was recognised as one of the fifty "Great British Trees" by the Tree Council as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebration. It's called the Elizabeth I oak because legend has it that her Majesty stood next to it, bow and arrow at the ready to shoot a stag as it was driven towards her. She missed! It's estimated that it's between 800 and 1000 years old and the third oldest sessile oak in the country.

Here's one of Arthur Rackham's tree illustrations [one of the few copyright free ones I could find online] for comparison.

Interestingly Rackham lived in West Sussex for several years and not a million miles away from here. I wonder if he ever came across these and used them for inspiration?



  1. Incredibly old and wonderful trees. It certainly looks as if Rackham knew about those trees.
    I've a vague memory of seeing a book about the oldest trees in the country and the Queens Jubilee

    1. There is certainly a list of them all online. Arilx

  2. Replies
    1. They have some incredibly gnarled shapes.


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