This is one of those old trees in Mosley Bog that looks like it has a story to tell. It on my list of trees to measure to have a guess at its age, it is most likely to be a couple of hundred years old, but hard to tell. Oaks can live for 1,000 years, 600 seems to be the norm.
It may have been pollarded at some stage, but again not sure. I would expect some of the other adjacent oaks to have been pollarded too. If it has been pollarded , this would have reduced its size relative to its age, and made the truck swell.
There are two methods of manging woodland trees, coppicing and pollarding. It a technique known to the Romans and was done for a couple of reasons. To promote leafy material for livestock if done every 6 years or so. However woodland trees were done every ten to fifteen years, so they produce nice straight thicker poles for fencing and boat building. The admiralty used a lot of trees.
Pollarding did protect the new shoots from grazing animals and kept the tree in a perpetual sapling state. This extends the life of the tree because diseases have little time to infect the wood. Coppicing involved cutting young tree stems down to a foot or less from ground level. Coppices had to be protected from animals.
A few local people have suggested that this is an ancient oak tree which would make it 400 years plus. Although oak trees do tend to form their ancient characteristics at around 300 years.
Others have also suggested that this tree sits on a ley line. These are straight alignments drawn between various historic structures and prominent landmarks.
What ever your belief system is, none can deny that this spot is a magical space in the landscape, the tree in itself a miracle of nature.