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OneOak timber used in the building of a Trow

posted on March 26, 2012

Some OneOak timber has been used in the building of a Trow by traditional shipbuilders in Gloucester. The ship will sail in a flotilla of one thousand ships on the River Thames in June, to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s reign of sixty years.

The Pageant on the River Thames will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, where one thousand boats will pass from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge on Sunday 3 June, led by Her Majesty’s barge.

Boats taking part in the pageant were selected by invitation and by an open submission process. A boat representing each county of the United Kingdom was entered. One of these was for the county of Herefordshire. A ‘Herefordshire Diamond Jubilee Fund’ was established through private sponsorship, which allowed the group to commission a ‘Trow’. The Trow was flat-bottomed barge with a shallow draught, powered by sail, drawn by horses or, more usually by gangs of men known as bow hauliers. In the 18th and 19th Centuries it was a poplar ship design for transporting goods on the Rivers Wye and Severn.  Trows were used to move many different cargoes including coal, wood, cider and wool. Only one complete Trow (a River Severn Trow) remains in existence, which can be seen at the Ironbridge Museum in Shropshire.

Herefordshire Trow

An engraved historical image of a working River Severn Trow and a model Trow at the Nelson Museum in Monmouth

The new trow is being built by T Nielsen & Co; traditional shipbuilders at Gloucester Docks.  Douglas Fir and Oak timber has been donated from several Herefordshire estates, and has now been joined by our OneOak beam.

Following a design created by maritime historian Colin Green, author of ‘Severn Traders’,  the Trow will be 11m (36’) long with a 2.75m (9’) beam.   It will be finished in Spring 2012 in time to be tried and tested and for a crew drawn from the county youth to be trained to take part in the great pageant on the Thames in June. The trow will have 8 oars and will later be fitted with its mast when it no longer needs to pass under low bridges. It is to be named The Hereford Bull in a ceremony in May.


Building the Trow at T Nielsen's yard in Gloucester

Building the Trow at T Nielsen's yard in Gloucester. Photos Andrew Wynn.

The piece of OneOak has a prominent place in the Trow, where it provides structural strength and support for the mast.

OneOak beam in the Trow

The freshly fitted OneOak beam in the Trow at T Nielsen's shipyard



Read more about the Trow project:

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OneOak news release – One oak tree: Forty gifts to life

posted on July 17, 2012

A unique project following the full life story of a single oak tree reaches a finale this week, with the first of a series of manor exhibitions at Art in Action, where all the items made from the tree are being brought together for the first time. The products range from the waste sawdust used by legendary chef Raymond Blanc to smoke salmon, to a throne chair worth £6000, and dozens of other items including charcoal, wood block prints, tables, benches, door, house, boat, and woodchip for bioenergy.

  • The OneOak project is an environmental project of the Sylva Foundation, following the full life story of one oak tree.
  • The aim of the project is to bring people closer to the importance of our woodlands and of wood in modern society.
  • The 222 year old OneOak tree was felled on the Blenheim Estate in January 2010, witnessed by 250 school children. It had been grown in a plantation for its timber, having been planted in 1788; the same year that The Times was first published and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir.
  • The OneOak tree is now the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated.
  • It has been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers.
  • Many of Britain’s leading designer-makers have made items using the wood of the OneOak tree. These total over 40 different products, and counting.
  • The 250 children who witnessed the felling each planted a young oak tree in January 2011, one year after the tree was felled, to fulfil the cycle in sustainable forest management.
  • The first exhibition is at Art in Action, followed by six weeks at Blenheim Palace, then six weeks at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.


Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said “this has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept:- the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued “after three years of hard work it is immensely exciting to be bringing together all the various elements of the OneOak project for our exhibitions during the Summer and Autumn. We will be able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science, and the myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we won’t be able include in real life in the exhibitions will be the house and the boat!”

The OneOak exhibition at Art in Action is replacing the usual ‘Woodworking’ section; the marquee will be filled uniquely with all the products of the OneOak tree. Artists, musicians, sculptors and designer-makers will be on-hand to talk and demonstrate about their work in the OneOak project. Some 25,000 people are expected to attend over the four days, and where special measures have been put in place to cope with the soggy ground.  See note from Art in Action

The following have been made to date: firewood, woodchip (to heat a house for 6 weeks), sawdust for smoking food by Raymond Blanc, charcoal, bracing beams for a house, transom beam in a boat rowed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, door and frame, chest, pedestal table, coffee table, throne chair, clock, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spider bench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winners pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl.

Details of the OneOak products along with the stories of their making can be found here:

The project website is

Exhibition dates:

Art in Action, Waterperry                             19th – 22nd July 2012                      Art in Action

Blenheim Palace                                               25th July – 4th October                  OneOak at Blenheim Palace

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh               12th October – 2nd December    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

More information

download the full News Release

download the full News Release

Download the full News Release


end of News Release

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Made from OneOak wood

posted on July 16, 2012
OneOak website

OneOak website

Over the last two and a half years, ever since the OneOak tree was felled in January 2010, we have been endeavoring to make as many and as varied items as possible from the tree to demonstrate how important trees and wood are to us in modern life.

Now that the first of our finale exhibitions is about to open (Art in Action July 19-22), we can list for the first time the number and variety of items made from the OneOak tree.

Here is a list of items made so far that exceeds 30 in number, while for some items there have been multiple versions (e.g. benches for five different schools) – the links point to stories on the OneOak blog over the last two and half years. See also our Products page on the OneOak website

  1. firewood from branchwood
  2. woodchip, from branchwood, for heating a house
  3. sawdust for smoking food, waste from processing other items
  4. charcoal
  5. bracing beams for a house
  6. transom beam in a boat, rowed in the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee Flotilla
  7. door and frame
  8. chest
  9. pedestal table
  10. coffee table
  11. throne chair
  12. clock
  13. lantern
  14. moebius sculpture
  15. jewellery
  16. acorn oakbot sculpture, from waste slabwood
  17. memorial sculpture, from branchwood
  18. carved bowls
  19. carved spoons
  20. turned bowls
  21. carvings
  22. automata
  23. Commemorative garden bench
  24. five benches for primary schools, including the spider bench
  25. contemplation bench
  26. MakeIT! bench, national school design competition
  27. nesting tables, fine furniture competition winner
  28. small craft items
  29. deer
  30. viola chin rest
  31. printing blocks
  32. relief carving
  33. sounding bowl

We will update this list in the future and include information on some of the items that so far have not been featured in the OneOak blog.

We hope to see at one of our exhibitions during 2012


Category: News, OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak beam afloat Queen’s Jubilee Pageant (2)

posted on June 8, 2012

Following last week’s news that a beam from the OneOak tree was taking centre stage at the major historical event which was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant (read post), one of our readers saw our clarion call for any photos of the Hereford Bull trow taking part in the flotilla.

We are very grateful to Julie Morgan for sending in these photos.

All photographs are © Julie Morgan

Read more about the Herefordshire Bull trow here


Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak beam afloat Queen’s Jubilee Pageant

posted on May 31, 2012

This Sunday, 3rd June, look out for the Herefordshire Bull – a traditional Trow built to take part in her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London.

Regular readers will know that the transom beam of the boat was made from the timber of the OneOak tree, and you can read the stories here.

If you are lucky enough to be there we’d be really keen to receive any photographs of the Herefordshire Bull taking part in the flotilla.

Find out more, including a map of the route with timings, by exploring the interactive map below.


Thames Jubilee Pageant Map from
Category: OneOak project, Wood
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The Hereford Bull naming ceremony

posted on May 14, 2012
The Hereford Bull

The Hereford Bull

The Hereford Bull, a new boat built by T Nielsen in the traditional style of a Wye Trow, was named at a ceremony in Hereford City centre on 12th May.

The Trow included timber from our OneOak project, which was used to make the Transom Beam.

A plaque on the transom beam

A plaque on the transom beam acknowledges to the OneOak timber

Watch a short film showing the naming ceremony:

Read more posts about the trow

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Last piece of OneOak timber delivered to a maker

posted on March 21, 2012

Our last piece of OneOak timber has been delivered to a maker. The beam will be used in a new boat, a Trow, being constructed by T Nielsen shipbuilders based at Gloucester Docks.

Timbmet collect OneOak beam for Trow project

Timbmet collect OneOak beam for Trow project

The OneOak beam, measuring 4360 x 220 x 160mm, was transported free of charge from Oxfordshire to T Nielsen in Gloucester, by Timbmet Ltd. We are very grateful to Timbmet for their generous support of the OneOak project.

The Trow is being made by T Nielsen to sail in the flotilla to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the Thames Diamond Jubille Pageant on 3rd June.  We will be following the build project on this blog.


Category: OneOak project, Wood
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