Country diary: there’s plenty of life left in this old oak tree

Country diary: there’s plenty of life left in this old oak tree

Sandy, Bedfordshire: Planed and sandpapered by wind and rain, devoid of bark, this veteran oak has crossed the threshold from tree into wood

After lockdown unlocked, the chains of no entry plastic tape were stripped away from between the trees, reopening the path. But it was some months before I dared to venture to revisit something I have known and touched for most of my adult life.

We would meet two or three times a week during the quarter of a century when I worked at the RSPB Lodge, a country house encircled by its nature reserve. Lunchbreaks would spill out of the formal gardens into the woods, then down a set of earth-cut steps to greet it, the first and thickest of the veteran oaks. Sometimes I’d pat its trunk on the way past. Big trees have that effect.

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