Fossilised Bog Oak Found in Haddenham

PUBLISHED: 17:30 09 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 04 May 2010

bog oak

bog oak

FOSSILISED evidence of an ancient forest has been found at Haddenham Fen. Farmers ploughing on land between Haddenham village and Earith have uncovered an uncommonly large number of Ice Age bog oaks, according to the Haddenham Conservation Society s Paul

FOSSILISED evidence of an ancient forest has been found at Haddenham Fen.

Farmers ploughing on land between Haddenham village and Earith have uncovered an uncommonly large number of Ice Age bog oaks, according to the Haddenham Conservation Society's Paul Mason.

Mr Mason said: "It is usual for farmers to find about two or three bog oaks when they are ploughing but this year they were using a sub-soiler which goes about nine inches to a foot deeper into the ground. It was hitting them, so then they have to go in with a JCB."

He added that the find of at least 50 bog oaks suggested a primeval forest used to be on the site, but shrinking peat is likely to have led to their arrival in the public eye.

After Ice Age glaciers retreated, the Fen basin was in fact a dry area covered in woodland, according to conservationists. When the area flooded

The bog oaks fell down when the area was flooded at the end of the Ice Age and were preserved by the peat. Some are up to 80 feet long.

"In my 50 years knowledge of the Haddenham Fens studying the wildlife and habitats I have never seen the appearance of so many at any one time," added Mr Mason I do remember when I was farming in the 1960s I had one of 40 feet and in those days we had to dig round them by hand and pull out by tractor and a chain. Nowadays machinery is bigger and they can be removed more easily. The wood is soft when it first comes out and can be sawn quite easily but if it dries out then it is very difficult to cut and will blunt many a saw in no time. It can be carved and turned and it burns very hot and slowly."

Pic cap: one of the bog oaks found at Haddenham.

Photo: SUPPLIED

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