Ancient ‘The Belvoir Oak’ dedicated to The Queen to mark Jubilee
Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has visited ‘The Belvoir Oak’ tree, one of a network of 70 ancient trees identified across the UK and dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee under the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative.
The Queen’s Green Canopy aims to raise awareness of these treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations and the QGC network of ancient trees and dedicated woodlands will create a physical and lasting legacy of The Queen’s leadership of the nation.
Belvoir Forest, in south Belfast, harbours some of the oldest documented oaks on the island of Ireland. In fact, the Belvoir Oak Tree is believed to be the oldest.
When this oak was just a seedling in 1642, it was all countryside as far as the eye could see, apart from a small settlement in the marshy ford where the River Lagan met the River Farset. It's lived through the Plantation of Ulster, the 1798 Rebellion and the loss of the Titanic.
What has happened in its lifetime…
• 380 years ago: Tree seedling appears, one year after the 1641 Rebellion is quelled
• 231 years ago: Society of United Irishmen is formed
• 224 years ago: 1798 Rebellion took place
• 161 years ago: Harland & Wolff shipyard founded
• 134 years ago: Belfast granted city status by Queen Victoria
• 116 years ago: Belfast City Hall completed
• 113 years ago: RMS Titanic’s keel laid
• 108 years ago: Outbreak of First World War
• 90 years ago: Parliament Building at Stormont built
• 80 years ago: 200 German Luftwaffe bombers attack the city in the Belfast Blitz
• 53 years ago: The Troubles erupt with sectarian rioting in Belfast
• 24 years ago: Good Friday Agreement
Speaking after the visit, Minister Poots said:
“Belvoir Park forest is unique as a city-based working forest and is a popular amenity for local people, providing wonderful walks and views in historical woodlands with rich cultural heritage, biodiversity and a wide variety of tree species. It provides social, environmental, recreational, tourism and economic benefits for the local area.
“I am delighted that the ‘The Belvoir Oak’ has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Trees to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee. This ancient woodland site and trees has a historic and local significance. ‘The Belvoir Oak’ is estimated to be around 500 years old and is possibly one of the oldest oak trees in Northern Ireland and is a celebration of our living heritage.
“The initiative encourages people, of all demographics, to take community pride in their trees and woodland environments and to plant trees and appreciate the contribution they make to clean air, impacts of climate change, diverse habitats for plants and wildlife and improving general health and wellbeing.
“Raising the awareness of the importance of forests and trees to society helps encourage landowners to plant new woodlands in line with my Department’s Forests for Our Future Programme to create 9,000 hectares of new woodland by 2030.”