Updated 28 Oct 2003

The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest

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The article below appeared in the "BBC Nottingham" website in November 2002.
It can be viewed for the time being on the BBC website

28th November 2002

Dorset plans rival Sherwood Forest

The Major Oak in 2002 - Picture courtesy of
John Palmer.

A Nottinghamshire man is
planning to grow a
woodland of mini Major
Oaks in Dorset.

John Palmer, former resident of Worksop, is to 
turn seven acres of land near his house in Dorset 
into a forest of mini Major Oaks.

At present John has three hundred Major Oak 
saplings growing in his back garden.

He is preparing to plant them at ten yards 
intervals on his land when they come of age.

The saplings come from the Major Oak's harvest 
of acorns in 2000 so they are now two years old. 
He plans to plant them when they reach the age 
of three.

When asked what gave him the idea he replies: 
"Its something I've always wanted to do. My wife 
is also enthusiastic about it."

John has been fascinated with the Major Oak and 
its history since his first visit to Sherwood 
Forest: "When I was a boy I was taken to see 
the Major Oak and have loved the great tree 
ever since."

Every year he visits the tree to collect the 
acorns for planting: "Every October I collect 500 
acorns from the Major Oak if they are available 
and plant them in pots at home."

"Here they get 'tender-loving-care' and the best 
ones are potted up next May. When they are a 
year old, they are straight, sturdy and many over 
a foot high."

At this point, the saplings are passed on to local 
organisations to replant. He stresses that no 
charge is made. All John asks in return is that the 
individuals: "... love and respect the little trees,
and help them grow in age and stature as did 
their famous parent."

He's now also set up a website dedicated to the 
Quercus Robur (that's a type of oak, you know)
and his saplings.

He's been in contact with other fellow Queen's 
Oak enthusiasts from all over the world - all
wanting to get their hands on his mini oaks.

However, apart from the problems with export 
laws John prefers for people to collect any 
saplings from his Dorset home so that they don't
 get mutilated in the postal system.

At present there are no trees on the seven acres 
field John hopes to plant the Oaks in. The Dorset 
Record Office states that the field used to be 
called the "Great Wood" in 1813. He hopes that 
the field will soon return to its roots.

Please note: John has been given special 
permission to collect acorns from the Major Oak.

The Major Oak: Then and now (pictures)
As well as his own pictures John has had several 
pictures e-mailed to him from other Major Oak 
lovers. Below are two pictures. One of the big 
tree at the beginning and one at the end of last 

The Major Oak - 1913
The Major Oak in 1913 - Photo courtesy of Cliff Thornton, Essex

The Major Oak - 2001
The Major Oak after 2001, with slim metal supports and fence
- Photo courtesy of John Palmer, Dorset (formerly of Worksop)
To see more photos of the Major Oak and learn more about John and his passion visit his website.