The Hundred Guinea Oak at the National Trust’s The Vyne in Basingstoke

“This ancient oak tree, thought to be more than 650 years old, owes its long life to William John Chute, who opened The Vyne during the 19th Century.

It’s believed that the tree gained its name after he refused to sell it to a naval agent looking for timber at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar. When Chute refused the first offer of £100, the agent returned the following day and offered one hundred guineas*.  According to diary entries written at the time, Chute said “any tree that increases in value by £5 overnight is too valuable an investment to lose”.

The hundred guinea oak has been present for many key moments in The Vyne’s history. In Tudor times, it saw royal visitors, including Hendry VIII with Catherine of Aragon, and later with Anne Boleyn. And during the Second World War, it witnessed the Estate being used to shelter evacuees.

Over its lifetime, the tree has also supported a variety of wildlife. It’s a favourite resting place for jackdaws and nuthatches. and squirrels can frequently be seen moving around the branches.

Fungal decay has slowly hollowed out the trunk which provides shelter for invertebrates and bats.

How we care for the tree:  Rare and ancient trees need special care. To make sure it can withstand bad weather, we tested the tree by hooking it up to movement sensors and exerting a force that monitors its position and tells us how it fares against a non-prevailing wind.

We also treat the roots to a lovingly deep layer of oak wood chip and a solution of compost steeped in microbes. This process improves the air in the soil and makes the nutrients more easily absorbed by the tree”

(taken from the information board in front of the tree)

*A guinea was worth £1,1s (one pound and one shilling). This is the same as £1.05 in modern money, and to this day guineas are used to sell horses.

Very approximately, £100 in 1850 is equivalent in purchasing power to just over £17,000 today.


Removal of 100 ft Cedar of Lebanon in Worton

Sad to see this go –  a local landmark coming down in Worton due to decay.

The decay, which you can see in the photo, was detected in the base of this 100 ft Cedar of Lebanon.  Using the Picus Sonic Tomograph, the decay was clear.  

This was the last one of six that were there before the houses were built on Cedar Close; now, perhaps Cedar-less Close!

The trunk was taken down to the West Country for wood carving into something quite unique.  Howard & Sons undertook the haulage

A replacement tree has been planted.  

For details of our tree surveys see here

And for the case study using the Picus Sonic Tomograph, please see here

And our post in November 2022 will tell you about its wonderful transformation into this tabletop.

Lime tree reduction in Calne for WCC

Here we reduced 46 lime trees up to 30m in height.  WCC had obtained an initial tree survey from another contractor but we were the only contractor with the correct machinery to undertake the works in a safe and timely manner.  To make the work more interesting, the site also contained a number of powerlines and an electric sub-station, so power lines were covered, and the sub-station protected prior to starting.  And, there was the additional challenge of the trees being adjacent to a school so half-term came into play as well!!   All in a day’s work…

lime tree reduction in Calne for WCClime tree reduction in Calne for WCC lime tree reduction in Calne for WCC