The Staverton oaks of Suffolk

In this place there are thousands of ancient oaks.  Old and hoary and with trunks that look like agonised faces dissolving in lava.  Many are dieing on their feet.  They are like Indian elephants – domesticated that is and  planted as a  deer park 700 years ago by the local monks.  Pollarded tops gave them a crazed outcrop of twisted branches.  The soil – pure sand – has kept their size in check and stopped them growing to African elephant size.

holly growing out of oak

Staverton Park is private and newly and primly fenced off.  You can walk your dogs on the outside edge and breath on the wonder  of the hobbledy  oaks dancing off into their wood pasture.  But the farthest flung section, nearest the road,  is  called Staverton Thicks.   An uncertain footpath traces under the swag of ivies and  fallen trees and by the girth of the biggest holly trees in the kingdom.  These have planted themselves so close to the oaks that they are hugging them to death, squeezing the life blood of the root juices.   A weird and magical forest.


  1. Fab post. Suffolk seems long way away these days. Used to pop up from London a lot. This makes me want to go there again! Best R

  2. Donna says:

    Amazing how trees endure through time. A lot stands in their way too.

  3. Holleygarden says:

    Strange and magical is right. I love how you described them as “agonised faces dissolving in lava”. I wouldn’t want to see these in the middle of the night, but they have a certain enchantment to them. 700 years old is incredible!

  4. What fantastic old oaks with their weird and wonderful shapes, they certainly look as though they belong in children’s story books. Wonder how old they are?

  5. Weird and magical indeed. I have never seen oaks look like that. Amazing.

  6. debsgarden says:

    700 years old! What memories must be stored within those ancient trunks and branches. Breathtaking!

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