Gallery: Historic oak in Mistley - thought to be oldest in the country - inspires book

Old Knobbley tree in Mistley.

Old Knobbley tree in Mistley. - Credit: Archant

AN ANCIENT oak tree known as ‘Old Knobbley’ has become the inspiration for a children’s book.

Found in woodland on Furze Hills in Mistley, near Manningtree, Old Knobbley is thought to be the oldest oak tree in England at around 800 years.

Tree enthusiast Morag Embleton was so taken with the historic oak that she decided to create a story about its journey from acorn to gnarled landmark.

She said; “When I lived in Mistley, my neighbours said ‘you must come and meet Old Knobbley’. It’s a grand old tree with branches raised in either direction looking like it’s waiting for a hug.”

She said Old Knobbley was one of the only trees left when others were taken down during the Second World War to make way for wooden huts for soldiers manning a searchlight on the hill.

During its lifetime, the tree has been hit by lightning, ravaged by fire and home to a hornets nest.

The old oak is covered in knobbley bumps, giving rise to its name, and has a huge hollow trunk.

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Ms Embleton, who now lives in Wales, said: “I was inspired by the length of time it has lived and going back thinking about what key things have happened throughout its history.”

Ms Embleton drew all the images herself before publishing the book entitled Old Knobbley the oak tree just before Christmas.

So far, thousands of copies have been sold and it also became the subject of a special project for pupils at a school in Mistley.

For every book that is sold, one tree is planted with the charity WeForest.

To find out more and to purchase a copy visit

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