Miner2Major podcast invites you to listen to the Major Oak like it’s never been heard before

In a world first, Miner2Major’s Voices from Sherwood Forest podcast has revealed the sounds of the ancient Major Oak tree, Robin Hood’s famous 1000-year-old hideout. Miner2Major’s Engagement Officer Helen Mitchem secured an exclusive ‘interview’ with the legendary tree; now you can hear it too like never before!

The podcast has been produced by the Miner2Major landscape scheme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as a means of capturing voices and stories from local communities and organisations. Helen has interviewed a variety of people including ex miners, youth workers, musicians and nature conservationists, who have been involved in this remarkable scheme which celebrates the important habitats, special species and rich heritage of Sherwood Forest.

The most recent episode features an unprecedented ‘interview’ with the Major Oak, and for the first time ever, the world can hear its voice!

Joining the discussion is Rob James from the RSPB, the organisation that manages Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve where the ancient tree resides. The sounds of the Major Oak were recorded by Alex Metcalf as part of his Tree Listening Project, which previously featured on BBC One’s CountryFile. It is a travelling, education tool used to facilitate a deeper understanding of how trees work and to engage people with nature.

Alex uses highly sensitive microphones to detect the sound of ‘popping’ when the ascending water mixes with air in the xylem (the tissue which transports water from the roots to the leaves). On the podcast, the sound you can hear for the very first time is the noise of this movement happening inside the tree.

Helen Mitchem Miner2Major’s Engagement Officer invited Alex to help her connect with our county’s famous tree:

“It was a really incredible moment to be the first person to hear the sounds of the Major Oak. The tree sounds very active and strong and I thought it would be a great idea to include these noises as part of my series of podcasts, who else can say they’ve interviewed (and had a reply from) the Major Oak!”

Rob James, RSPB Communications Officer for Sherwood Forest, said:

“Being able to capture the sound of this incredible tree is wonderful. Those of us who work at Sherwood Forest feel privileged just to be able to marvel at it each day, but to hear otherwise inaudible sounds from within it was very humbling indeed, and a reminder that, even after a phenomenal 1,100 years, it is still a true living icon of nature.”

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify (titled Voices from the RSPB and the Major Oak)
here: Voices from the RSPB and the Major Oak by Voices from Sherwood Forest (spotify.com)
Listen at 07:32 and 11:31to hear the Major Oak.

Posted on 30 May 2024

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Georgia Cowdrey