One of the Society’s lesser-known roles is to highlight the importance of trees and woodland in our locality and to help in their preservation. Sevenoaks (“The Town in a Wood”) is fortunate in its number and variety of trees, despite the ravages of nature and inroads of man, and our area contains many notable and even nationally important groups and specimens – some several hundreds of years old and with a remarkable history. Many are within easy walking distance of the High Street, in Knole Park.

And of course we have our famous oaks – although the original eponymous seven were lost many centuries ago, and six of the Vine oaks were laid low in the Great Storm of 1987: but replaced with seven more. (So from “Sevenoaks” to “One Oak” and now “Eight Oaks”). Our town became an international symbol for tree loss. (Click here to discover some of our town’s most interesting trees)


The seven oaks south of the White Hart Inn – also with an eighth for luck!

Trees are valuable for many reasons – and many are at serious risk. As well as the association of Sevenoaks with trees, and their aesthetic appearance and historical significance, the Society’s role is of particular relevance given the increasing threats to our trees and woods through building and agricultural development, pollution, and pests and diseases such as ash die-back. (As well as ash, oak, horse chestnut and pine are also at risk. Click here for more information).

The Society seeks to:

  • Raise awareness of the significance of trees for our environment and as remarkable and valuable entities in their own right
  • Work with others to identify and record trees of importance because of their location, age, size, appearance, history, condition, vulnerability or other features of note – and to help to protect and preserve them
  • Monitor and seek to influence where appropriate building projects and developers’ proposals for landscaping and the protection of valuable trees
  • Encourage the planting of trees in the locality and their sustainable management
  • Facilitate the gaining and sharing of knowledge and understanding through research, articles, talks and exhibitions – and by developing our database of records and images of our notable trees

In particular the Society wishes to explore ways of working with young people to help them appreciate the worth, beauty and vulnerability of trees in the streets, fields, woods, hedgerows, parks and gardens in their neighbourhood.
We encourage anyone to:

  • send us details of your favourite trees – native or non-native
  • inform us of heritage, champion, ancient or other notable trees (see below for definitions)
  • notify us of any under threat
  • tell us if you wish to use any of our research and exhibition displays.


The avenue of ancient sweet chestnuts in Woodland Rise, planted in 1509 to commemorate the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon.

A National Tree Register

The Society supports the Woodland Trust’s campaign to create a National Tree Register, to enable our trees of special interest to be recognised and given greater protection. To show your support for a register, visit the Woodland Trust’s web-site at

Working With Others

Click here for a list of other organisations involved in the recording and protection of trees, and raising awareness of their importance.

Some Definitions

“Heritage Trees”: trees which have exceptional value because of their connection with our history and culture, and are considered irreplaceable. They may be of great age or size, have stories and events associated with them, or be special because of their place in the landscape or importance for wildlife.

The term ‘Ancient Tree’ encompasses:

  • Trees of interest biologically, aesthetically or culturally because of their great age
  • Trees in the ancient or third and final stage of their life
  • Trees that are the old relative to others of the same species.

This pollarded oak half-way down the Chestnut Walk is one of many examples in Knole Park:


‘Veteran Tree’ is usually in the second or mature stage of its life and has important wildlife and habitat features including; hollowing or associated decay fungi, holes, wounds and large dead branches. It will generally include old trees but also younger, middle aged trees where premature aging characteristics are present.

“Champion Trees” are the largest examples of their species in the area, in terms of height, girth or bulk. Trees may be County, Country or National Champions. In Sevenoaks we have several National Champions, including a Quercus Petraea (Sessile Oak) in Knole Park, with a girth of 5.94m and height of 39m – the tallest in Britain (below).


Other trees may be “Notable“ because of some other significant characteristic: their location, aesthetic appearance, rarity or unusual features, ecological importance, or vulnerability (to human or natural actions).

“Lost Trees” are those which no longer exist but were of particular importance, for example because of their age, size, history, or local significance – such as the six Vine Coronation Oaks laid low in the hurricane of 1987. The survivor is classed as a “Heritage” tree.

or1gPhotograph courtesy Bob Ogley

St Nicholas Church   or1c
The accommodating wall of St Nicholas’ church   Autumn glory in the heart of town

Ash Die-Back Disease (Chalara Pathogen)

Ash Die-Back Disease (Chalara Pathogen)

or1b   or1a

For information on this potentially disastrous threat, visit the following web-sites:
To report suspected ash die-back or other serious pests and diseases, email the Forestry Commission