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Blasted Oak

The Blasted Oak - photo by John Morris, Chiltern Woodlands ProjectAnne Butterworth got to the bottom of a local tall tree tale in the July 2004 edition of the Hilltop News.

Many think that the Blasted Oak was split by lightning in the 1970s, which only goes to show how easy it is to get the wrong end of the stick.

Michael Dady now lives in Australia, but he was born in Chivery and can remember how the tree split.  The story starts on the very foggy morning of Friday 30th October 1942 when Michael's father, Alf, and his workmates heard a plane crash. They ran more than a mile to the crash site in Baldwins Wood but despite their best efforts, there were no survivors.

Some days later, Michael was walking with his parents when they saw a party using a tractor to lift a piece of wreckage to allow a RAF trailer to back underneath it. They had a rope over the sturdy roadside oak but the tractor was struggling.  Alf went to help with the clear-up operation while Michael and his mother watched.

The brace - photo by John Morris, Chiltern Woodlands ProjectAfter various attempts to lift the large piece of wreckage there was a mighty crack as the tree trunk split.

Michael's father and workmates received commendations for their initial efforts at the crash scene.

The sizable split in this massive oak trunk has jeopardized the long term future of this roadside tree.  However, a brace has been added in an attempt to prevent further splitting.

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