A veteran English Oak has been selected to receive free revitalising treatment from a national campaign to preserve ancient trees.

The historical tree which sits in Gilwell Park, near Waltham Abbey, was chosen to be the winner for Tree Rescue 2018.

The towering oak is estimated to be 450-500 years old will receive an enriched biochar and soil de-compaction treatment from to ensure its continued survival.

Charlie Thoirs, head gardener at Gilwell Park, said: “I just nominated the tree on a whim because it’s a beautiful old thing but it’s a bit worse for wares now, I didn’t expect for it to win – it’s made my day.”

“The tree came fifth in the European tree of the year contest a few years back and won Tree of the Year for England in 2017, it seems such a shame to lose it when its stood strong for hundreds of years already.”

The old oak is mostly associated with the home of the scouting movement conceived by Robert Baden Powell.

Dick Turpin, the notorious highwayman, is reputed to have hidden under the tree in Epping Forest as he prepared to ambush stagecoaches.

Mike Newby, project lead at Tree Rescue, said: “The UK is lucky enough to have the most ancient trees in Europe, and yet they’ve been consistently overlooked in environmental plans and legislation, including DEFRA’s 25 Year Environmental Plan published earlier this year.

“Everyone knows trees are important. They pump out clean air, absorb toxins, create habitats for wildlife, prevent flooding and generally enrich our lives.

“But when they get stressed or start declining, the mentality is often geared towards chopping them down instead of treating them.

“When it comes to significant veteran and ancient trees, like the oak in Gilwell park, getting the chainsaws out is the last thing anyone wants."

Tree Rescue was launched last year, asking members of the public to nominate ailing veteran trees and highlight the importance of maintaining them.

The treatment includes Carbon Gold’s enriched biochar applied via deep soil Geo-Injector, a relatively therapy which has successfully revitalising some of the UK’s most iconic trees.

The Apex Geo-Injector is a high-tech decompaction tool that’s used to reach the very deepest tree roots and apply enriched biochar.

The window to nominate trees for Tree Rescue will reopen in June 2019.

To learn more or become a sponsor, visit


follow Tree Rescue on Instagram