The Whitebeam tree was once considered to be related to the Hazel and in some localities was known as the Whitehazel. It was also an ancient symbol of Royal authority, with King's messengers carrying a staff of 'Whitehazel'.
Mick Venters from Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve says:
"The old windswept Whitebeam stands in a very commanding and regal position, on the crest of Beacon Hill. Surveying the land for miles around, amost as though it is waiting patiently for a Kings messenger to ascend the historic sunken way that climbs the escarpment from the Vale below."
It was Mick Fox who first recorded the tree as special. He said:
"I noticed the tree as I did not recognise it at first. Whitebeams are usually so tall and straight but this one is quite stunted because of its exposed position. I cannot imagine it making any worthy royal staffs!"