Storm: 500-year-old Romford oak in Mashiters Walk felled by Monday’s high winds

Nick and David Willats with the fallen oak tree

Nick and David Willats with the fallen oak tree - Credit: Archant

It took root when Henry VIII was on the throne, and weathered five centuries of English weather – but the story of a 500-year-old Romford oak tree is finally over.

A neighbour's shed was crushed by the tree

A neighbour's shed was crushed by the tree - Credit: Archant

The tree, which up until Monday had stood proudly in Nick Willats’s back garden in Mashiters Walk, was one of the early victims of the strong gusts that blew through the south-east before first light.

David (L) and Nick Willats with the fallen oak tree

David (L) and Nick Willats with the fallen oak tree - Credit: Archant

Waterlogged soil, strong gusts and a heavy crop of leaves proved too much for the ancient oak, which was uprooted some time during the night and crashed down, taking out fences and sheds and a greenhouse along the way.

A plaque at the Drill roundabout in Gidea Park commemorates the "Drill Oak", which was felled in the

A plaque at the Drill roundabout in Gidea Park commemorates the "Drill Oak", which was felled in the 1987 great storm. Nick and David's tree survived that storm - but came down on Monday morning - Credit: Archant

The immense tree, which survived the “great storm” of 1987 with only minor damage, now lies across a number of back gardens.

“It’s the biggest one we know in this immediate area,” said Nick, now 32, who has lived in the house since he was a toddler.


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“If it had lost its leaves it would still be standing. It’s very sad.

“It’s left a massive hole in the skyline.”

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The 1987 storm took down an even older tree – the 600-year-old oak that had stood at the Drill roundabout.

It is now commemorated with a plaque and a sapling.

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