Cornwall’s Oldest Tree

Cornwall's oldest tree

The Darley Oak is thought to be 1000 years old.


Lets put that into perspective, when this ancient tree was just an acorn the Normans hadn’t invaded yet and the Domesday Book hadn’t been written.

Paper money wasn’t invented and the Vikings were still attacking our coast. There was probably a man known as Ethelred the Unready on the English throne and the oak has seen no less than 47 royal rulers since then.


This tree was already nearly 500 years old when Columbus went to America and when William Shakespeare was born, its no wonder it looks a bit like the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter.


The tree has a large hollow, big enough for a (very small) person to squeeze through (maybe) and in the past this is exactly what folklore says people did. It was thought that the ancient tree had healing powers and passing though its trunk could cure all manner of ills and even grant wishes.


Apart from the scar in it’s trunk the tree appears in good health. When last measured it had a girth of 11.6 metres (38 feet), although it is believed it has now stopped growing.

In 2002 the Darley Oak was recognised as one of Britain’s 50 greatest trees by the Tree Council to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee and is the oldest tree in Cornwall.

The knarled old oak can be found near the village of Upton Cross in the private garden of Darley Farm. It’s age was established by a mention in Dingle family documents in 1030. The Dingles owned the land on which the tree stands for some 800 years.

If you liked this post might also like Cornwall’s Oldest Road or maybe Cornwall’s highest cliff

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10 thoughts on “Cornwall’s Oldest Tree

  1. We had a 500 year old tree in our yard which sadly succumbed to the first hurricane recorded in Oregon’s history. When I was a kid, I used to think a lot about what it had seen.

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