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14th November 2017

Ancient oaks in Somerset

Chris Knapman

Castle Neroche oak

Forester Jon Burgess, of Forestry Commission England, writes about the Piddle Oaks, which the ATF Devon group visited during their field event at Castle Neroche in Somerset last Autumn.

On top of the hill overlooking the Taunton Vale, in an landscape surrounded by ancient earthwork fortifications, hidden deep within the wood are a wonderful collection of ancient oaks. As with all things this old there remains a bit of a mystery about the history – were they on the edge of the royal hunting Forest of Neroche, or within a separate park pale that survived after the forest was broken up?

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