The Crawford Close Holm Oak

There are more than just English oaks amongst Earley’s notable trees.

The Holm Oak, A giant among trees, is in Crawford Close, a stranded colossus from the old Maiden Erlegh estate.  (Girth approx. 6.9m but hard to measure)

Crawford Close   Holm Oak    

The Evergreen, Holm or Holly Oak (quercus ilex) is member of the oak  family, but is sometime mistaken for a large holly tree.  This tree was once in the landscaped estate of old Maiden Erlegh House. With its large girth, it’s as big as some of the trees which are thought worthy of being recorded on the Tree Register website database.  First introduced into this country in the 16th century, it is really a native of the Mediterranean area, but this area is affected by an increasing desertification and soil degradation. The main cause is the climate, but also the impact of forest fires.

It has catkins and acorns just like the Common Oak.  When cut green, the wood is heavier than water.  Before the advent of plastic, its acorns, like the other oaks, were once used for packaging for fragile and delicate objects.  Although the ground below may be bare, birds can nest in its large canopy and long-tailed tits, woodpeckers, nuthatches and goldcrests may eat its catkins and acorns.

There is (was?) a famous avenue called Ilex Avenue in Worthing that once boasted 245 of these trees, but the area is very much coveted by developers.  Wonder if it’s still there?

Thanks to Sheila Crowson for the details and pictures.

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