The White Leaved Oak

After walking for hours over the Malvern Hills and sliding down countless muddy trails, I finally found the White Leaved Oak.

Last autumn, I was following a documentary series about ancient trees in Europe and there was something about the White Leaved Oak that grabbed my attention and followed with me all throughout the dark winter months in Sweden where I live. When I decided to travel to the UK this year, I decided that I had to go visit the famous oak tree in Malvern.

The White Leaved Oak is a most cherished tree, dressed in a cloak of abundance like a magical Oak King. From a distance, you can see the colourful ribbons and trinkets hanging from his branches. Kneeling before him, I marvelled at every twist and turn, every knot and knobble, and every gift to be found among his many secret hollows. All sorts of treasures can be found hanging from his branches, hidden under roots and nestled in the clutches of his gnarled trunk. He even has its own visitor’s book full to the brim with poems, greetings and blessings.

Leaning against the old trunk with the visitor’s book in my lap, I smiled at the happy realization that despite all the madness of the world, people still have a love for old trees such as White Leaved Oak.

Walking home was yet another long walk. After walking for over three hours, I finally arrived at the village Guarlford where I am staying in the early evening, completely exhausted, but full of joy.

Finding the White Leaved Oak was an adventure and there is something about going on adventures, no matter how big or small, that invokes my inner child. The oak tree had been on my mind for so long, actually being there felt like meeting a character from a favourite fairy-tale!

A few days ago, I returned to White Leaved Oak for another visit and spent half the day there. Trees are like people, it takes time to get to know them. When you spend time with a tree and really open your senses, it may speak to you in one way or another. White Leaved Oak gave me a song that I will always carry with me to sing and remember.

Thank you White Leaved Oak. It has been an honour to meet you and sing your songs. And thank you for leading me to Malvern! Here I have found some wonderful new friends and storytelling connections. Would have loved to stay longer but now the road beckons...

Update: White Leaved Oak was destroyed in a fire in 2020. Rest in peace, dear friend. You will forever live on in our memories, songs and stories.  


  1. I’m a lecturer in Arboriculture (tree care) and as such have had a keen interest in this tree. I’ve been meaning to visit the Whiteleaved Oak for some considerable time and last week (21st. February 2019) I managed to take time and visit this wonderful tree. It was everything I expected apart from one thing, I’m afraid this once magnificent tree is either dead or very close to death. Looking at the branch structure there is very little evidence of new or recent growth, such a shame considering the love this tree has had bestowed upon it.
    I took time to look around and ponder what could be responsible for the demise of such a great tree and came to the following conclusion, livestock. There is evidence that the area around the Oak is heavily grazed, in particular by sheep. Pharmaceutical products that are given to animals are not tested against the environment and I feel these products that are deposited on the ground have had a detrimental effect on a tree that was already stressed, due to old age.
    I feel a lesson should be learned from this sad tale, notable trees should be fenced off from livestock and given the respect they so much deserve.

    Whilst I was visiting I took some video footage in the hope of capturing some of this trees mystic.

    1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful video! Yes, I remember that there were sheep grazing close by. I also just heard from a friend in Malvern that the tree is dying. Perhaps the sheep or something else is to blame, or perhaps the time has simply come for White Leaved Oak to retire! I think the oak is over 800 years old from what I have heard. Such is the way of life! However, I am sure the magic of White Leaved Oak will live on for a long, long time…

  2. Dear Stina, I feel exactly like you about going on adventures (no matter how big our small). I am originally from Germany but I have moved to Cornwall/UK some years ago. I have by now made so many tree friends here and there are a lot of places to discover that hold a magic that is beautiful and ancient. I have only just found your website through 'treesisters' and I love the idea that there are other tree-loving women out there who travel across the world in order to visit old oak friends.
    Love to you, Faye

    1. Dear Faye, thank you for your comment! Yes, I too love the idea that there are other tree-loving folk out there in the world. Enjoy the magic and beauty of nature in the UK! It is a wonderful land with so much to discover. All the best to you on your adventures.


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