Nature trail #8
Oaks provide an astonishingly rich habitat that supports more life forms than any other native tree. Up to 280 species of insect alone live on an English oak and these in turn, supply many birds with a food source. The trees also play host to small mammals, such as the common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), and birds, such as the Barn owl (Tyto alba) which some years nests in the hollow spur about 10 feet above the ground. The Woodland Trust has a leaflet on the wildlife value of ancient oaks.
The Woodland Trust classifies 4 metre diameter oaks as "veteran" trees. This English Oak is the largest oak tree in Broadacre. We started measuring it in 2012 and it has been steadily inching (or centimetering!) its way to that 4m landmark. For the last few years, though, the growth has stalled. Maybe the tree is currently putting its resources into branch growth rather than trunk growth.