The Natural History of Blenheim’s High Park

Edited by
  • In-depth look at the biodiversity and ancient oaks in a medieval deer park dating from 1110.
  • Richly illustrated throughout with photographs of organisms.
  • Only the second comprehensive published record of the biodiversity of a site with ancient oaks.

    • Blenheim
    • botany
    • Coming Soon
    • ecology
    • habitat
    • invertebrates
    • natural history
    • parkland
    • trees


    High Park, at Blenheim in Oxfordshire, UK, is a SSSI of great significance for its numerous ancient oaks and the organisms associated with these trees. This book gives a detailed, lavishly illustrated and thoroughly researched description of the biodiversity and natural history of what is by several measures the most significant site for ancient oaks in Europe. It draws together the expertise of more 60 specialists, and reports on the results of in-depth surveys of High Park.

    Chapters cover different groups, including: flora (including bryophytes), fungi, lichens, molluscs, arachnids, flies, hymenoptera, butterflies, moths, beetles – with a special focus on saproxylic species, bugs, reptiles and amphibians, birds and mammals.

    Despite their undoubted importance, very few sites with ancient oaks in England, the most important European country for these magnificent trees, have seen a comprehensive published account, adding to the value of this study. Several of the contributing authors describe their survey techniques in some detail, some of which are not widely known. Records are analysed in the various chapters and often compared with data from other similar sites. Overall, the book gives encouraging evidence of the great biodiversity still to be found in England, and should help to stimulate similar efforts to uncover the biodiversity and describe the natural history of ancient parkland and woodland, so that conservation of these sites can be based on firm scientific data.

    DOI: 10.53061/QXBT1148

    Table of Contents

    Introduction Aljos Farjon
    DOI: 10.53061/YKRB6101

    1. Historical Review Alison Moller and Torsten Moller
    DOI: 10.53061/ZZBX6109

    2. The Ancient Oaks Aljos Farjon
    DOI: 10.53061/WPSJ5341

    3. Planted and Self-Seeded Trees Aljos Farjon and Torsten Moller
    DOI: 10.53061/JWXM7823

    4. Flora and Vegetation David M. Morris, Aljos Farjon and Jacqueline Wright
    DOI: 10.53061/NSNS7740

    5. Fungi (Excluding Lichens) A. Martyn Ainsworth, Richard Fortey, Alona Yu. Biketova and Laura M. Suz
    DOI: 10.53061/OZOM2670

    6. Lichens Pat Wolseley, Neil Sanderson, Brian Coppins and Sandy Coppins
    DOI: 10.53061/RTDO9050

    7. Snails, Slugs and Bivalves (Mollusca) Rosemary Hill, Peter Topley, Thomas Walker and Rosemary Winnall
    DOI: 10.53061/ZAFH4557

    8. Spiders and Relatives (Arachnida) Aljos Farjon
    DOI: 10.53061/KRTC5727

    9. Two-Winged Flies (Diptera) Peter Chandler
    DOI: 10.53061/PEVB9384

    10. Sawflies, Wasps, Bees and Ants (Hymenoptera) Ivan Wright
    DOI: 10.53061/NZVF3441

    11. Butterflies (Lepidoptera) Phillip Cribb and Caroline Steel
    DOI: 10.53061/REZP4047

    12. Moths (Lepidoptera) Martin Corley
    DOI: 10.53061/WZHD1567

    13. Beetles (Coleoptera) Benedict John Pollard
    DOI: 10.53061/ESXO4392

    14. Bugs (Hemiptera) and other Insect Orders Graham A. Collins and Jovita F. Kaunang
    DOI: 10.53061/NQKI9199

    15. Assessing the Importance of High Park for Saproxylic Beetles Benedict John Pollard and Keith N.A. Alexander
    DOI: 10.53061/NGWD5034

    16. Amphibians and Reptiles Aljos Farjon and Angela Julian
    DOI: 10.53061/PKXT2424

    17. Birds (Aves) Anthony S. Cheke
    DOI: 10.53061/CIGW8855

    18. Mammals Ray Heaton
    DOI: 10.53061/KVXM4486

    19. Review of Management Practices Torsten Moller, Aljos Farjon and Anthony S. Cheke
    DOI: 10.53061/ILNU8469


    • A fantastic and fascinating account of one of the top ancient oak tree sites in the country, brimming with rare beetles and a wide range of other species... There is no doubt that this book will become a standard point of reference for tree and woodland ecologists.
      —Dr Keith Kirby, Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford University

    About the Author

    Aljos Farjon is a renowned botanist and recipient of several international awards for his work on conifers, on which he has published 11 books and more than 100 papers and articles. He is also an accomplished botanical artist, illustrating many of his books and papers. He worked successively at the Universities of Utrecht and Oxford and at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew until his official retirement; he continues at Kew as an Honorary Research Associate. In recent years, Aljos has shifted his research interests to the extraordinary wealth of ancient oaks in his adopted country, England. His Ancient Oaks in the English Landscape was named ‘Reference Book of the Year’ in the Garden Media Guild Awards 2017.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 384 pages
    • Colour illustrations
    • BISAC SCI011000, SCI020000, NAT011000