Holm Oaks in Dagnam Park

There are still several impressive Holm Oaks in Dagnam Park, apart from the long gone "Giant Oak" (detailed below) There are several others in Hatters Wood and in the old playing fields. The Holm Oak was introduced into Britain from the mediterranean in the 1600's and it is a hardy tree even in our harsher climate. It is easily recognised because it is our only evergreen Oak species. It was widely planted in the grounds of large houses and parklands, not a really rare tree but infrequent.

Holm Oak in the old playing fields, Photo Don Tait, 2011.
The Giant Holm Oak, (Quercus ilex) that once stood close to the Dagnams mansion.

The huge spreading branches were supported by a ring of wooden props which were themselves small tree trunks, several can be seen in this picture. Holm Oak is an evergreen species of Oak, there are several others in the park. This photograph was taken in 1964/5. The tree had already shed a large limb and this picture shows a ring of stakes and a chain link fence that the Greater London Council had put up in the interests of public safety. A few years later the tree was cut down and removed completely. This photograph was taken by Brian Herbert, at the time he lived in Tarnworth Rd. His friends depicted also lived in Tarnworth Rd. They are William ( white cardigan ) and Robin Gartshore they had an older sister Ella. Brian lost contact when he moved to Australia later in 1965, he would dearly like to know where they are now. So if anyone has any clues please let us know.

( They were subsequently located in Spain via this website.)

Editors Note. in her book, Dorina Neave refers to this tree as the Cork ilex, this is a mixture of English and Latin and refers to two separate species. There is a tree known as Cork Oak (Quercus suber) but our tree is undoubtably the Holm Oak (Quercus ilex). Dorina would have been familiar with the Cork Oak as it is a mediterranean species but it is not hardy and does not thrive in the British climate.

We are extremely grateful to Brian Herbert for permission to publish the photograph below.

Below an enlargement from the 1946 aerial photograph

A large Holm Oak just within Hatters Wood. A single tree with three trunks. March 1973.

The same tree, little changed after forty years. Don Tait 2013