This is the season of acorn crunching paths, after the boughs have released them. A couple of times on my near-daily walk, I have filled my pockets with them and then surreptitiously dropped them in hopeful spots in the forest, to see if they may become grand oaks a few hundred years hence.
And on one such walk, I noticed an oak low-branched and wondered how it had grown that way. Now, reading this, I wonder if it too had been pollarded to maximise acorn production within human arm-reach.
The great trees, which had originally been the source of the acorns and were often pollarded when young to produce a big head of acorn-bearing boughs, continued to belong to the landlords as a source of timber, even when the ground below the trees had been let to the tenants.
Source: Adam Nicolson, Sissinghurst: An unfinished history (London: Harper Press, 2009), p. 144