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The Offley Great Oak

Offley’s oldest inhabitant

If you admire trees – and you should! – there is much to give pleasure in Great Offley, not least the variety (and viewing space between) the splendid collection in the grounds of Offley Place, so thoughtfully planted more than a hundred years ago. Less easy to see until you are close to, is the majestic copper beech beside the Offley Recreation Centre sports fields, with its elegant branches swooping low to greet walkers heading towards the Hitchin footpath.

Unmissable, though, beside Offley’s Salusbury Lane, is the Great Oak, girth nearly 6m, spreading its split, partly hollow, trunk to the sky and much loved by the local children as a ‘hotel’ for birds and insects.

Registered by The Woodland Trust and classed by experts as a ‘multi-stemmed veteran’, well-established dating methods indicate it will have been an acorn in the reign of King James 1. A new information board has recently been installed showing details of this, undoubtedly Offley’s oldest inhabitant