Shute’s famous King John’s Oak - the next generation

PUBLISHED: 16:44 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:50 26 February 2018

Volunteers clearing the ground around the ancient King John's Oak at Shute, near Axminster. Picture: SUBMITTED

Volunteers clearing the ground around the ancient King John's Oak at Shute, near Axminster. Picture: SUBMITTED


Grafting workshop will ensure the 900-year-old tree’s genes live on

Shute’s famous King John’s Oak will be the scene for a tree grafting workshop on Sunday (February 25)

The event, in Woodend Deer Park, between 2pm and 5pm, is the first outdoor activity for the local Legacy to Landscape community heritage project.

The aim of the workshop is to teach people how to take cuttings as a way of creating new generations of trees. It’s a very useful propagation technique to grow on an identical and new generation of King John’s Oaks keeping the genes of this tree alive in the landscape.

This ancient tree, about 900 years old, rules over a marvellous collection of other ancient and veteran trees in the historic medieval Shute Deer Park.

The workshop will be run by nurseryman Pete Wells with Jill Butler, ancient tree specialist from the Woodland Trust.

It’s a free event and booking is essential. Map and details of venue, parking and what to bring are given on booking by calling 01404 310012, or e mail

The project is also putting out a plea for palaeographers. This is the study of old English documents. Recently, the project was delighted to have had access to the Pole archive at Anthony House in Cornwall.

Ruth Worsley, project coordinator explained: “We are looking for volunteers who could help transcribe some of these historic documents from the 16th and 17th centuries. We are hoping these documents might reveal clues as to how the Shute Estate landscape looked then and whether it has changed in the last

four centuries of King John’s Oak’s reign.’

* Legacy to Landscape community heritage project celebrates a hidden area of landscape in an area of East Devon, based on the 1781 map of the Pole family estate at Shute. This historic map covers the landscape of the Colyton and Shute area, west of Axminster.

For further information contact Ruth Worsley, Legacy to Landscape Project Co-ordinator, 01297 489741, or 077 65126565


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