Hanley Swan Oak Trees

The large oak on the village green was planted in 1863 to commemorate the marriage of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.  According to village legend, it made little progress in its early years until one day a circus was held on the green and an elephant bit the top off the tree.  After that it flourished.  Over the years it has grown into a majestic oak, with a branch occasionally dropping from the exposed western side.  In July 2005 a major branch fell off, followed shortly by second from a spot almost immediately above the first (see photo), almost completely destroying the bench sited beneath it.

According to the Tree Preservation Officer (TPO) at Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) the branches had failed due to longitudinal splitting coupled with cantilever loading.  This is not uncommon in trees as, during growth, branches tend to twist from following the sun’s rise and fall.  As they increase in size, length and weight, a small split can open along the length of a branch.  This split weakens the timber and the branch eventually breaks.

The TPO recommended reducing the size of the canopy by approximately 10% and this work was completed in December.  It is hoped that this will reduce the stress on the tree caused by the twisting effect of long and heavy branches.

A second oak tree was planted on the green in 1981 to commemorate the marriage of the present Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, to Lady Diana Spencer.

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