Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response.
Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.


Children sow a new generation of oak trees

posted on November 5, 2009

Niel Nicholson of Nicholson Nurseries visited Bladon Primary school today to help sow the next generation of oak trees.

We have already posted the story of how difficult it has been to collect acorns this autumn see here. With help from many of the staff of Blenheim Palace, the total number of seeds collected by the children and other volunteers across the whole Blenheim Estate amounted to one bucket-full. The year 2009 has certainly not been a good year for oak seed generation. Not only were there few seeds but many were not viable.

Niel showed the children how good seed (acorns) will sink in water and the children then worked to separate the floating seeds from the healthy sinking seeds. It was disappointing to find that from our collection only 50 were probably healthy seeds. The children counted 1380 acorns that were non-viable!

Undetermined the children got to work sowing the 50 healthy seeds in the rootrainers. Nicholsons will raise the seedlings in their nursery in North Oxfordshire with help from the children during the year. Let’s hope that as many as possible of our precious 50 sown seeds germinate and then survive as seedlings.

Niel Nicholson with Bladon Primary Years 3 and 4 children and teacher Carolyn Thorne

Niel Nicholson with Bladon Primary Years 3 and 4 children and teacher Carolyn Thorne

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Difficulties collecting acorns

posted on October 13, 2009

Collecting seeds (acorns) from the OneOak tree has been a long-standing plan. Unfortunately the tree had other ideas and has produced very few acorns this year.

Growing a new generation of oak seedlings is an important part of the project as it will actively demonstrate the cycle of life and the sustainablility of growing trees. Nicholson Nurseries have kindly agreed to help the school children who collect acorns to grow them to produce oak seedlings. We plan to plant a new generation of ‘OneOaks’ in autumn 2010.

Problem acorns: small, rotten or infected with Knopper Galls

Problem acorns: small, rotten or infected with Knopper Galls

Oak trees do not produce significant crops of acorns every year. Usually, heavy crops of acorns or ‘mast years’ come once every 4-7 years. It just so happened that 2009 was not a mast year. We have looked long and hard for acorns from our OneOak tree but have found only small and half-formed acorns that would never germinate.

We decided to look elsewhere on the Blenheim Estate so that we could at least collect seeds from the cousins of our OneOak tree. Luckily, other oak woodland areas seem to have produced some acorns although the crop is still very light. Many of the acorns are small or have been infected by the Gall wasp Andricus quercuscalicis that produces the alien-looking Knopper Gall.

Andricus quercuscalicis

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School visits … progress report

posted on October 8, 2009

Several schools have now been out to meet the OneOak and all have had a fantastic time. We have been very lucky with the weather, even this week when it was supposed be pretty wet. Everybody has had a lovely time walking out to the tree and trying to find conkers on the way. Once they have reached the tree the children have all had a chance to use their senses, become scientists and discover the wildlife and nature around the tree. Then of course they have had time to explore around the tree after their outdoor picnic. So far Bladon, Willowcroft and Wood Farm Primary Schools have all been out and I am really looking forward to meeting Woodstock and Stonesfield schools over the next few weeks to have some more fun.

Here are some comments from the children who came to visit from Wood Farm yesterday:

“I really enjoyed the oak tree when I look up to the top it makes me very dizzy. The favourite activity was where you have to look under your legs.’’ – Courtney

“I really enjoyed seeing the oak tree. My favourite activity was getting insects. I will never forget the oak tree.’’- Douglas

“My favourite activity was measuring the tree. I will never forget the walk’’- Saiful

“I really enjoyed the measuring. My favourite activity was exploring the trees! I will never forget when we were saying goodbye.’’- Nimrah

Mhairi MacGillivray-Edwards
Forest School Leader, Oxfordshire Forest Schools Service

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Bladon Primary visit

posted on September 24, 2009

Children from Bladon C of E Primary School visited the OneOak tree this week.

We are measuring the circumference of the tree so we could find the age of it .We  had a long measuring tape to go round it

We are measuring the circumference of the tree so we could find the age of it. We had a long measuring tape to go round it. Euan and Madeleine.

Will found a caterpillar on a leaf. We found a tree which has been cut down and Jake found it and we liked to climb on it too. Ben and Jake.

When we were being scientists we worked out the height of the tree and I stung my hand on a nettle Ouch! Joseph.

The listening game

We are playing the listening game. And we have to shut our eyes and hold our hands up. And shut our fingers and listen to as many noises as we can. And every time you hear a noise put your finger up. We had lots of fun at the oak tree!!! We heard a plane, wind, foot steps, breath, birds, talking, leaves rustling, Mrs Thorne saying Megan shut your eyes!!!. That’s it! By Szymon & Charlotte BYE

We caught insects and put them in tubs. Then we each got a magnifying glass and had a close up look at them. We found a spider, caterpillar and a slug. Ben B & Jake M.

Bladon Primary and the OneOak tree

Bladon Primary and the OneOak tree

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We’re ready for the children

posted on September 17, 2009

We met at the tree with Jenny and Mhairi from the Oxfordshire Forest School Service this week.

We are delighted to announce that the Oxfordshire Forest School Service will be a partner in the OneOak project, and that Mhairi MacGillivray-Edwards, an experienced Forest School Leader, will be leading the school visits to the OneOak tree during September and October.

Some 300 children from Years 3 & 4 of six primary schools will be visiting the OneOak tree over the next few weeks. We look forward to reading about their experiences in the woodland and what they think of the tree and our project. We hope that they will join in the blog and post their work on our schools gallery page.


Mhairi and the OneOak tree

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