Bradgate Park, in Leicestershire, lies on volcanic rock and the park’s great oaks seem to congregate around the outcrops. Bradgate was a medieval deer park and was subsequently owned by the family of Lady Jane Grey. Local legend has it that the oaks in the park were symbolically pollarded (beheaded) when the unfortunate “Nine Days’ Queen” was executed in 1553.
Bradgate Park is now owned by “the people of Leicestershire” and operated as a public country park by a Trust. I grew up in Leicestershire, and Bradgate was always a very special place to me, and I was pleased to be able to revisit the park in February as part of a visit to family who still llive nearby.
This drawing is of one of the ancient pollard oaks in the “Little Matlock” area of the park (so-called because the views were reminiscent of Matlock in the Derbyshire Peak District). As oaks can live for 600 – 1000 years (and are classed as “ancient” at 400), it is possible that this tree was alive at the same time as Lady Jane Grey.
12″ x 16″, ink on kaolin-coated board, 12″ x 16″