THE greatest collection of ancient oak trees anywhere in Europe has been discovered in Britain after research uncovered them in a Medieval deer park.
At least 60 Middle Age oaks have been unearthed in a survey of the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, with four of them measuring almost 30 feet in diameter.
The huge width dates them to the Medieval period - between 960 and 1196AD.
It was previously thought that Moccas Park, in Suffolk, Windsor Great Park, in Berkshire and Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, had the largest collection of the ancient trees, but the new research means Blenheim Palace has overtaken them.
The 18th Century estate and UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill - but its significance to natural history was previously unknown.
The 120 acre swathe of wilderness known as High Park was originally created by King Henry I for hunting, and was left untouched by gardening great Capability Brown when he started work there in 1764.