Tree Charter Poles: From Crown to Carver

Grown in Britain is a partner in the Charter for Trees Woods and People

In 2017, ten 15 foot Oak poles and one 18 ft Oak pole were felled from Windsor Great Park in Berkshire and taken to the Sylva Wood Centre in Oxfordshire to be carved into Charter Poles to commemorate 800 years since the 1217 Charter of the Forest.

This is the story of their journey from the forests of  Windsor to the the hands of the carver, Simon Clements.

There are hundreds of species of Oak worldwide but only two are native to Britain. These are the English or pedunculate oak and the sessile or Durmast oak first identified as separate species by Carl Linnaeus, late in the eighteenth century.

Oak is one of our historic and cultural British emblems and so it was the stand out choice for the Charter Poles and the particular Oak species to choose had to be pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) – The English Oak.

The history of Oaks on the crown Estate and the quality of the poles needed for the project, meant that Windsor was the obvious choice.

The Charter poles needed to be from selected tall trees, relatively free of bends, knots and decay and so the mixed plantations created in the late nineteenth century were the focus for a search by the Crown Estate forestry team.

Oak is a durable timber and so it can be used for :

  • construction
  • cladding
  • flooring
  • sleepers
  • decking
  • interior and exterior joinery.

Oak can be limed to lighten its colour and fumed to darken it.

The principle pole (18ft) was felled to free up space around an ancient oak, circa 1000 years old, close to Cranbourne Tower which has been loved and used many Royals including King Charles II, King George II, King George IV and Queen Victoria.The harvesting of the Woodland Charter principle pole, has helped keep this incredible tree of history alive for the generations to come.

The Charter for Trees Woods and people has a number of themes which carver Simon Clements, will depict on each of the poles.

Watch this space for the next exciting stage in the story of the Tree Charter poles as the artist sets to work…