What we are doing to preserve the tree
Due to the historical significance of the tree, Surrey County Council are working together with Heritage Tree Services and Ringway to carry out a revival project on the Crouch Oak.
Currently, there are temporary two-way lights situated on Crouch Oak Lane to manage the traffic at the location of the tree.
We will be implementing the following plan in due course:
- Permanent support structures to support the tree branches are now in place (Completed 17 March 2023).
- Painting the support structures so they are keeping with the surrounding area.
- Changing the road layout with a build out to create a priority single carriage lane
- Closing the footpath directly between the tree and the carriageway permanently.
- Laying a mulch mat over the rooting zone to help with moisture retention in the soil and giving essential nutrients
- Fencing the area around the oak tree with chestnut fencing.
All these measures are to not only support the top of the tree but also to extend the root protection area and help prevent compaction of the soil through footfall.
We are committed to not only maintaining and preserving the tree, but to maintain our duty of care for the safety of the highway and its users. We continue to consult with the leading specialists in veteran tree management and our expert engineers to give their expert advice and implement a plan for the construction of support the future preservation of this wonderful oak tree.
Located south from Victory Park stands the oldest resident of Addlestone, The Crouch Oak. This ancient oak tree is estimated to be around 800 years old, also nick named Queen Elizabeth I picnic tree after it was allegedly said she dined under the great oak.
It is an iconic, important symbol in the town and holds many memories for local people.
Ancient trees are typically in the final third of the maximum expected lifespan for the species, and they are highly significant in both ecological and cultural terms.
Besides being remarkable organisms, ancient trees provide habitats for a huge variety of other species. One ancient oak has more biodiversity than a thousand 100-year-old oaks.
Most of these species fall into three distinct groups: fungi, some of which feed on the dead wood, whilst others form special relationships with the trees' roots; invertebrates, especially beetles and flies, which live in the decaying wood or fungal fruiting bodies; and lichens, growing on the bark of trees. These insects and invertebrates provide food for other species.
If this tree were to be replaced, it would take hundreds of years to achieve similar carbon offsetting.
Ancient trees are an extremely important link to our past. They can tell us how the land might have been used, perhaps as a wood pasture or a royal hunting forest.
This oak tree once marked the boundary of the Great Windsor Park.
Over its long history, The Crouch Oak has sadly been attacked on a few occasions. The last known incident took place in the early hours of Friday 14 September 2007 when the tree was targeted by arsonists.
Ancient trees have huge cultural significance and have been revered over many generations. Some have even acquired names that reflect their special history and character.
This tree has had many names over the years; from Wycliff's Oak, where John Wycliff gave sermons from under the tree in the 1800s to the Queen Elizabeth's Picnic Tree, as it has been said that Queen Elizabeth I once picnicked under the tree.
The tree is also known as the 'Speakers Corner' of Addlestone, as the popular Victorian Baptist, Charles Spurgeon, preached there in 1872.