Oak Tree: Nature's Greatest Survivor

Oak Tree: Nature's Greatest Survivor


Somehow it never quite registers when you hear that a tree is old. But if you’re told an oak was a sapling during the English Civil War, that it was laying down roots when Newton first described gravity, that does paint a picture. History is only one offshoot of this magical, mesmerising nature watch, which branches out into entomology, evolution, architecture and even whisky production.

George McGavin takes just one example, a 400-year-old oak in Wytham Woods near Oxford, and studies the many year-round threats to its existence, from gales to acorn weevils. It’s gracefully filmed, with superb choices of music to accompany astounding footage (a bit of Strauss for an acorn germinating, Tomita’s synthesized Clair de Lune for a brittle winter wonderland, and Edgard Varèse’s Poème Électronique for a close-up of the alien-like acorn weevil), and packed with facts about miraculous processes.

Oak Tree is poetic, inspiringly educational and, in our 21st-century world of decking, driveways and new builds, vitally important.


George McGavin explores one of the great icons of the British countryside - the oak tree. Studying a 400-year-old tree throughout the different seasons of the year, George investigates its surprisingly sophisticated biology, how it adapts to its ever-changing environment and why it has become such an important part of the countryside.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dr George McGavin
Director Nic Stacey
Executive Producer Paul Sen
Producer Nic Stacey