Shute school needs your votes for its ancient King John’s Oak Tree

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:07 04 October 2016

Shute Primary School KS2 pupils at the oak tree

Shute Primary School KS2 pupils at the oak tree


Shute Primary School has nominated its local King John’s Oak for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year Award.

Pupils are hoping the 800-year-old veteran tree, in the village’s medieval deer park, will win a care package to help it survive for a few more hundred years.

The ancient English oak has ‘witnessed’ many changes since it started life as a tiny acorn all those centuries ago.

It was there when King John went hunting in the park, probably thinking about his troubled reign.

And then, some 400 years later, the grounds the amazing tree sat in were confiscated by Queen Mary as they belonged to the family of the recently-beheaded challenger for the throne of England, the nine-day queen, Lady Jane Grey.

Meanwhile, the landscape changed around it and so did the world; it has survived through the Battle of Trafalgar, two world wars, the invention of steam engines, electricity and the internet - and still it sits peacefully within the Deer Park.

Today, the King John’s Oak is a magnificent tree, very different to many people’s vision of a tree, but a great resource for people to learn about the importance of veteran trees, their longevity, the unique life that they support and their future in the landscape.

Shute Primary School has adopted this ancient giant of a tree and is determined to bring it to local people’s attention.

It needs help as it is surrounded by bramble, which is out-competing the tree for nutrients and water, and it is shaded by nearby trees.

Campaigners also wish to take some grafts to preserve its genetic heritage to plant out in the deer park and surrounding area.

Now an online ballot is being conducted to choose the Tree of the Year Award winner.

People can vote by logging on to the internet site at

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