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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Shroggs Park - Woodland Oaks

I have taken the opportunity this last few days to take my local walk through the woodland here.

The banking is very steep and the soil is gritty and full of rocks and there is little vegetation.
I wonder how these oaks have not only survived in the extremes but produced such interesting shapes.
Perhaps a hard life getting established there or maybe, not sure,
if there has been some pollarding or damage to the leading shoots when they were at a young stage.
I'm amazed by them !

Click on the pictures to enlarge

This last one looks as if there were two leaders at one time, no signs of damage,
that gradually over the years grafted themselves back together.


  1. Hi Dave,
    Yes they are amazing those contorted oaks on our rocky scars. They are all along the Skircoat edge- from Wainhouse Tower, below Albert Promenade, with Scarr Wood below, along New Road, with Long Wood below, and along the top of Bankhouse Wood which brings you to the Hebble Valley. Across that valley, the contorted oaks continue along the top of Elland Wood, with the Elland by-pass below, all the way to Elland Bridge area, then above Park Road Crematorium, they can be found along the top of Elland Park Wood. Some observers have claimed that these old but small oaks are so contorted as a result of pollution during the times when many mills and factories were here in the Calder Valley, which may be the case, but as they are always on the top edge of steep woods I suspect it was exposure to the cold and frosty winds. A later generation of oaks has in some places grown up through them, and these are straighter and now often over-top the small, old, bent trees. I think the warmer winters we now experience have enabled these to grow straight, as well as being in the shelter of the older trees. Also the younger trees, being closer together, are forced to grow straight, whereas the older trees were well seperated. I've watched jays hiding acorns in long grass, abandoned little fields, and seen oak thickets grow up in my lifetime. One such is below Exley Lane, just after the boarded up pub, the Punch Bowl it was called. The oaks there are the result of jays. It was mostly an empty area of long grass when I was a boy. I'd be glad to lead a walk along these edges I describe. The best time is when the leaves have fallen.

  2. Good idea, Steve. We ought to make some kind of a record of them while they are still a prominent feature of our woods. A good photographic project.