Tidbit Thursday: The Major Oak and Robin Hood
The darkness of night fell quickly upon the group of men, led by Robin Hood, running down the road through Sherwood Forest. Their enemies were not far behind. The band of men, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, must escape or find a place to hide immediately.
In the moonlight, they saw ahead of them a massive oak tree.
“We can hide behind it,” said one man. “This tree is so wide no one will be able to see us in the darkness!”
“We can climb up in it,” said another. “This tree’s branches spread so wide it will hold all of us!”
One man walked around the tree and exclaimed,” Come look! It’s hollow inside…and it’s as big as a room. We can hide in there, even better!”
Robin Hood and his merry men hid inside the hollow tree from their enemies. This tree became known as The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest.
The above is, of course, a fiction version of Robin Hood and his men.
Do we know if this event actually occurred? Or is Robin Hood just legend? No one really knows for sure about the legend, but The Major Oak tree is real.
The Major Oak is located in Sherwood Forest Country Park, part of Sherwood Forest Natural Nature Preserve.
It is indeed a massive tree, and it is hollow inside. Its canopy spreads out 95 feet. The Major Oak is 35 feet around and 52 feet tall. Over the years, supports have been added to help hold up its branches. A fence has been added around it to protect its roots and the soil underneath it from the trampling feet of the over 225,000 people that visit it each year.
The Major Oak is hollow because of a fungus called the “poor man’s Beefsteak”. The scientific name of this fungus is Fisulina hepatica.
The Major Oak is a biodiversity delight. It is the home to many species of mammals, birds, insects, flowers, ferns and fungi.
To learn more about The Major Oak, visit these websites or find a book in your local library about Great Britain, famous trees, or the legend of Robin Hood.
Have a great day!