Member Steve Hazleton had this to say about a an old #oaktree near him. "This is one of the Ancient Oak Elders that presides over parkland in #Wivenhoe, Essex. I have slept inside it many times, even recorded the night sounds around us. There’s a lot of #history surrounding this particular tree. Artist John Constable often sat here while composing his sketchbook preparing for one of few paintings here made from here. This tree has seen the coming and going of many a year. I mean, what’s a few hundred years to this fine specimen!"
Naturally after seeing this wonderful tree and Steve's comment I wanted to know more about Wivenhoe! I hope you enjoy....
The Cork Oaks of Wivenhoe near Colchester, Essex.
The house’s second owner, General Francis Slater Rebow, served in the Peninsular campaign in Spain and Portugal against Napoleon.
The #Georgians were very fond of making collections and Rebow was no exception, bringing back, inside his riding boots it is said, a pair of young cork oaks. He had them planted in the grounds perhaps serving as a memento to the General of the years he had spent in Portugal where they were a common sight.
Rebow distinguished himself in the war but is perhaps best known for the connection he had with one of this area’s other famous sons, #JohnConstable. Rebow had been a friend of Constable’s father and was one of the fledgeling artist’s earliest patrons, commissioning from him a pair of paintings, which prominently feature the trees in the grounds of his properties in Arlesford and Wivenhoe Park.
About the Cork Oak.
Cork oaks are members of the oak family with some special adaptations that allow them to flourish in areas prone to wildfires. Found across the Mediterranean, from Spain to North Africa, the cork oak’s thick bark handily insulates it against the raging heat of a forest fire.
In the cork oak the cambium layer, the thin band of living tissue that sits beneath the dead bark and the nutrient-rich sapwood beneath, is unusually large and rich in a chemical called suberin. This thick cambium, sometimes 4-5 inches deep, has some extraordinary properties of water resistance and compressive strength and finds widespread use in a number of industries. But, the one that we are most familiar with is on bottles of wine.
Cork can only be harvested by hand, using the same tools and techniques that people have been using for hundreds, if not thousands, of years – it is a completely sustainable technique which doesn’t harm the tree when done properly, making proper cork corks by far the most environmentally friendly way to stopper a bottle.
Our group #ancientandsacredtrees is free to be a member, take a look at the rest of the website to see the benefits of joining us. Blessings Amanda