Our Materials - Oak
Oak is a native tree and had great importance in the wild wood, so much so that there was little need to plant it in coppices until this century as so much oak grew naturally. The Romans tried to clear ancient oak groves due to their hatred and fear of the Druids who gathered there. Oaks can live to a great age – to well over a thousand years old - but in coppices no longer cut it is one of the trees that suffers most as its saplings find the light so essential to grow. They have also been cleared in the recent past for the cultivation of soft wood pine forests and are threatened by the invasive non-native sycamore, which again grabs all of its valuable light source.
In the Elizabethan age many oaks were felled to build the ships of the British fleet.
Oak is a hard wood traditionally prized for its strong close grain. We use oak for its great strength and durability, making it useful to encase our gates, for our gates and posts, for oak shingles, and garden houses. It takes 7-12 years for the wood to grow enough to provide decent sized flower stakes, 12-20 years for gate hurdles, hedge stakes and lathes, or 20-30 years for cleft stakes, roof shingles and posts.