The Knightwood Oak
The huge Knightwood Oak is unquestionably the New Forest's most famous tree and is thought to be one of the oldest, with age estimates ranging from 450 to 600 years old. The girth of the trunk close to ground level is just over seven metres, indeed a size only achieved after several centuries growth!
What also makes the Knightwood Oak different to most other oaks in the New Forest is that it is a pollarded oak.
Pollarding, a method of tree management, was used throughout the New Forest in ancient times. A pollarded tree is one that has been cut a couple of metres above ground level, promoting outward growth of fresh branches rather than the single main trunk continuing upwards. This forced growth of numerous new branches obviously greatly increases the yield of timber from the tree.
The pollarding of oak trees in the New Forest was stopped when the Royal Navy started using the oak timber for shipbuilding at Bucklers Hard; pollarding prohibited the growth of tall, solid trunks ideal for cutting into long planks that were required for the ships of Nelson's fleet.
Today, the Knightwood Oak is a very pleasant spot to go and relax with a picnic, while soaking up some of the unique New Forest atmosphere.
There are a couple of short walks from the Knightwood Oak car park, and the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary isn't too far away.
Where to find the Knightwood Oak
The giant tree is located at the southern end of Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive, very close to the A35 road approximately 2 miles west of Lyndhurst. The car park is on the opposite side of the Drive to the tree, the oak is only a couple of minutes walk away.
GPS / SatNav information:
Lat/long: 50.856,-1.626. OS grid ref: SU265064