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  • Writer's pictureKatie Scott

Ancient Wildwood. The remarkable Yardhope Oaks.

Many thanks to Glenn Thompson for the fantastic photographs.

Sessile Oak Woodland - unusually high altitude, about 200m. The reserve is managed in partnership with The Northumberland Wildlife Trust and The Forestry Commission.

Rothbury CAN recently hosted a free guided walk to the magnificent Yardhope Oaks. The walk was facilitated by David Fleet, who was an excellent guide.

Sessile Oaks

The Yardhope Oaks are 'sessile' oaks - they have evolved in tune with the land, and are able to survive in the damp cold conditions of the area. Sessile oaks can grow up to 40m tall. This is the national tree of Ireland, and is native throughout Europe.

Uses of sessile oak

Oaks produce one of the hardest and most durable timbers on the planet. However, it takes up to 150 years before an oak is ready to use in construction. It has been a prized hardwood timber for thousands of years and is still used for flooring, wine barrels and firewood.

Other uses of oak:

  • Leaves, bark and acorns were believed to heal many medical ailments, including diarrhoea, inflammation and kidney stones.

  • Acorns have also been used to make bread flour.

  • Tannin found in the bark has been used to tan leather since at least Roman times From: Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) - British Trees - Woodland Trust

William Young tells us more about the Yardhope Oaks:

The trees are not the only things that make this place special, though. Far more important is their age. Once, a great forest covered much of the hill country of the Cheviots. It was one that held an important place in the earliest legends of the place – but one which has over the years but cut down almost entirely. Here in the woods above Holystone, this oakwood called the Yardhope Oaks is one of the last surviving portions of that ancient wildwood. It is here, almost alone, that it is possible to revisit something of the old reality of these moors; here that we can recapture the spirit of the place.

Coccidicus Shrine

Helpful links:

Rothbury CAN plan lots of activities to help with well-being, knowledge, and skills. Look at the Events page on the Website to see what we are offering.

If you would like to know more about our activities, email Katie at

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