Lightning Oak, Hertford Heath

Symbol of endurance and courage – and strapping virtues such as strength, honour and resistance – the mighty oak is one of England’s most powerful natural emblems and the undisputed monarch of the greenwood. Towering of trunk and twisted of twig, the oak stands stoically on many an English village green, watching as the storms, seasons and the currents of time come and go, living for as long as 1,000 years.

Unlike its straight-laced cousins overseas, the eccentric English oak grows with a multitude of tangles and twists, collecting gnarls and knuckles along its branches with each year that passes. While weathering life’s storms, folk through the ages have sought strength under the oak’s canopy of rustling boughs, in the soothing knowledge that they are but a dot in the passing of its lifetime.

The oak’s resilient grey bark contains a powerful collection of active ingredients, whose extracts have been employed since antiquity for their protective and toning properties.

Britain in a Bottle Noble Isle sources extract of oak from the grand old ‘Lightning Oak’ of Haileybury College in Hertfordshire. After being struck by a devastating lightning bolt in 1898, appearing to all to have perished by 1899, this stately oak went on to thrive by the turn of the century, leading to the inscription in 1904, ‘Often the Oak burnt by Joves bolt flourishes’.

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