“Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow”.
Acorns are the fruits of oak trees. In autumn, many fall to the ground and some will grow into new trees. Squirrels and Jays collect and bury acorns for winter food, but they don’t find them all. Jays can carry several at a time – they are great tree-planters!
Acorns contain tannins, which can be toxic to humans and taste bitter. They are also poisonous to horses, cattle and dogs, but Badgers, deer and pigs love to eat them. In olden times, pigs were taken to woodland in autumn to gobble up acorns and other nuts that had fallen from the trees; this practice was known as pannage.
The two ancient Oaks near here were saved from destruction in 2005 when houses were built. Known as the Twin Oaks, they are thought to be about 500 years old! Oaks trees are very important for wildlife and an amazing 2,300 different species have been found to use them.