An ancient English Oak Tree called Old Knobbley inspires this site. Old K grows in Mistley, England and could be as much as 800 years old. (If you want to find out more about the tree follow the Old Knobbley link above).
Where's Old Knobbley?
Many of you have been travelling to Mistley and searching almost randomly for this old tree. To help you in your quest here is Old Knobbley's almost exact location: 51.938392,1.081335. Simply paste the coordinates into Google maps and go! Happy hunting. Or watch this video of a walk from the car park to Old Knobbley.
Old Knobbley Crowned Prince of Trees
In England's First Tree of the Year competition Old Knobbley came second place missing the top title by just 465 votes.
The winner was the Major Oak of Robin Hood fame.
Loyal supporters of Old Knobbley have asked on Old Knobbley's facebook page that the Major Oak undergo a drugs test claiming that the Nottinghamshire tree has been using unnatural substances for years.
Old Knobbley quickly came to his distant cousin's defence saying in his deep slow voice “My old friend, that you know as the Major Oak, has in his past struggled with humans filling his trunk with concrete, cladding branches with lead and then fibre-glass all in an effort to help and support. But now the humans know better and are helping to wean my dear cousin off these unnatural substances. The Major Oak can hardly be blamed for their use.”
Other Old Knobbley fans in a letter to the East Anglian Daily Times have cited the fact that Old Knobbley does not have a USP as his failure to win the competition, implying that he needed to be linked to historical figures to be taken seriously in a competition featuring such culturally significant trees as Robin Hood's Oak or Newton's Apple.
Old Knobbley's biographer, Morag Embleton, spent a long time explaining unique selling points to Old Knobbley and after pause of a day or two Old Knobbley said “I don't understand this need for fame. Many trees have succumbed to it. There are many Apple trees that claim to have inspired Newton and as for Robin Hood? Whether he did indeed live will remain a secret amongst us trees. If the Major Oak isn't going to tell, then neither will I. If you need stories of me and Boudicca or the Witch Finder General then please find them or create them (although the Boudicca line will be a bit of a stretch – I'm told I look good for my age but I'm not 2000 years old!).
“I prefer that I am loved for being me, a tree that has been growing here in Mistley for 800 or so years (possibly longer, I can't remember). I knew your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, I could go on... I have worked for many hundreds of years to provide timber for your houses, boats and fireplaces. There may be a bit of me still in the local houses or churches. I'm sure you clever folk could do a DNA test to find out. I have provided many homes for other species often sacrificing my leaves and acorns to keep insects, birds and other animals alive. You would not believe what wood boring larvae and fungal mycelium are doing to me! Many of the younger trees in this wood and beyond are my children, all of us taking in your carbon dioxide and giving you oxygen to breathe.
“Perhaps coming runner up is a blessing. I would hate for the visitors to me to increase so much that Mistley Parish Council had to worry about the compaction to my roots (that's a big tree killer you know) and then to fence me away from my friends with visiting hours for hugs limited to just one day a year with no chance of tree climbing as has happened to the poor Major Oak. No, the Major Oak can keep his fame if that is what fame does to a tree. I 'll take free 24/7 hugs and careful climbers over winning a competition any day.
“I am very happy that my friends thought so kindly of me that I came a pretty close second in this competition. I understand that people put up posters and geocaches and did all sorts of things to support me. Thank you all. It warms my heartwood to know that I hold a special place in your hearts.”
Old Knobbley would like to thank John Lungley, Marian Hill, Sarah Tonks, Susan Anderson, John Bradley, Gerry Donlon and Sue Mackie as he is aware that they worked particularly hard to promote Old Knobbley in this competition.
Through to the final round: England's Tree of the Year 2014
Over 200 trees were nominated and Old Knobbley is one of 10 finalists through to the final voting round in the Woodland Trust's England's Tree of the Year competition.
Old Knobbley needs your vote to be in with a chance of winning. You can only vote online at the Woodland Trust's website.
Voting starts on Monday the 27th of October and continues until the 3rd of November 2014.
Ask everyone you know with an email address to vote too. If you are on facebook you can keep up with the latest news by "going" along to the voting event page.
Old Knobbley was nominated seven times in the first round. Trees could be nominated with a story, poem or picture. You can read my nominations from Ann Barber, Neil Marjoram, Gerry Donlon, Tracey Gibson, Su Fox, Sue Mackie MBE and Morag Embleton if you like.
"Lovely book", "great book": Chris Packham has said some nice things about my biography
My biographer has received this response from Naturalist and BBC broadcaster Chris Packham
Thank you so much for the lovely book you sent me, you are right that not only is it a great book for children but will also make adults think next time they see a big old tree.
Wouldn't it be good if all trees could talk, what a story they would have to tell.
I do apologise for the amount of time it has taken for me to reply, I'm sure you can appreciate how busy I can be and the amount of post I receive.
Thank you again for such a lovely book, I'm sure many children and adults will enjoy reading it. I hope you are enjoying Springwatch.
Have you got your copy of Old Knobbley the Oak Tree (book) yet? quote "POODLES" to get free postage and packing (UK)
Old Knobbley's life in a book
From acorn to ancient oak tree a brief history with the tree that's seen it all - Old Knobbley
A perfect gift for anyone that knows this ancient tree or who has young children interested in nature and history Old Knobbley the Oak Tree (book).
Where's Young Knobbley?
One of Old Knobbley's acorns is growing in Wales! Read all about it: Acorn of Old Knobbley in the Forest Garden.
Latest news on Old Knobbley's rescue
You may have read in the local newspapers (EADT or Harwich and Manningtree Standard) or seen on the local tv news (Anglia Tonight) that plans are underway to rescue Old Knobbley. From what, you may wonder, does this ancient tree need to be rescued? Well, over-crowding from nearby trees.
Concern over the amount of light and nutrients reaching Old Knobbley was raised at the annual regional forum of Tree Wardens in September 2009. I was asked to give a talk about Old Knobbley (in front of Old K) to the local Tree Wardens. Of course I jumped at the chance and amused the Wardens with stories about Old Knobbley, this website and generally spoke about the importance of old veteran trees like Old K (but everyone knew that of course anyway!). Some local kids enjoyed the attention Old K was getting too.
Picture (thanks Clive): Luckily I am hidden by the gathered Tree Wardens in this image taken at the East Anglian Tree Warden Forum 2009 (I'm behind the the chap with the blue top on (not the guy holding the camera - that's Jon Stokes)).
Fortunately, Councillor Sarah Candy and Clive Dawson (Principle Tree and Landscape Officer) from Tendring District Council, and Jon Stokes (Director of Rural Programmes) and Pauline Buchanan Black (Director General) of the Tree Council were also in the audience. After our discussions, unanimous agreement about the importance of Old K and considerations about how best to keep this old tree alive, when local Tree Warden Ian Rose got together with Clive to come up with a plan, it was gladly heard by the two Councils (Mistley PC and Tendring DC).
Now (fingers, toes and roots crossed) Old Knobbley is getting the attention this great ancient tree deserves and will be properly looked after by Mistley Parish Council. Hooray!! and thank you Ian.
There are some people who think that Old Knobbley should also be cordoned off so that children (and adults) cannot set fire or abuse this veteran tree. But I hope that Old K will continued to be a natural climbing frame for all the young at heart folk for years to come, and that the few fire-starters (twisted fire-starters) grow out of their pyromaniac tendencies without causing harm.
Old Knobbley Wiggles into a catalogue
I first found out about Wiggly Wigglers when I bought my wormery a couple of years ago. By "Wiggly Wigglers", I'm not referring to the worms that arrived in the post (yes by snail mail), but the company that supplied them. They are based in Herefordshire in the UK and they are simply a great company for wildlife gardening products.
The Wiggly team wanted to produce a catalogue with a difference, so asked their customers to send in their thoughts about the Wiggly products. (I should probably point out that Old Knobbley isn't for sale). So, I wrote to say that I was thrilled that the company was selling trees and hedging plants (it was a relatively new edition for them) and that if you have space to plant trees, you should plant lots of them. Perhaps one day they will be as old as Old K!
So there is a small photo of Old Knobbley (and if you look closely, me) in their latest catalogue. Fab.
I have also become a Wiggly Affiliate, which means that if you click through to the Wiggly Wigglers website and buy something, I will get earn some Wiggl-e-cash which will help me to fund this website.
Hidden Trees of Britain showcases some of Britains oldest and most beautiful trees, including Old Knobbley!
It's by Archie Miles (photographer), so you just know the images of trees within the covers are going to be exceptional. Archie contacted me a few months ago. He had visited this website a few years back and was fascinated by the fact that a tree has it's own website. He visited Old Knobbley, took a few photos, one of which is in the book, and wrote an entire page about Old Knobbley.
This is a great book, brilliant pictures and interesting facts about some obscure and hitherto unpublished trees. If you are looking for a present for a tree-loving friend or loved one, look no further.