SAPLINGS grown from Europe’s greatest collection of ancient oaks have gone on sale to the public at Blenheim Palace.

The limited number of saplings will be sold for the very first time, after foresters at the Blenheim Estate have propagated 200 acorns from their unique collection of veteran oak trees and the two-year-old saplings are now ready to be purchased.

The acorns were gathered from a wooded area, called High Park, of the 2,000-acre parkland, known as High Park, which was created originally by Henry I as a deer park during the 12th century.

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Now 90 per cent of the woodland is made up of oak trees, with at least 60 being dated back to the Middle Ages.

The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the greatest number of ancient oak trees anywhere in Europe with some of the trees dating back to around 1000 AD.

Blenheim Estate Forester Robert Burgess said: ““The acorns are collected from around the park in September while still on the trees.

“They’re put in cold water for 24 hours then mixed with compost in bins and turned once a week.

“Once their roots start to grow, they are put into seed trays and placed into the greenhouse.

“In March they start to grow and stay there until the end of July, then they’re taken out to harden off for winter.”

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Most of the acorns were planted around the estate for future generations, but about 200 were selected to be put into recycled pots and sold in the Blenheim Palace East Courtyard Gift shop for £30.

For every sapling sold, Blenheim will plant another oak tree on the estate.

Blenheim’s Head Forester Nick Baimbridge said: “We’re extremely fortunate that so many of these venerable trees have survived together here at Blenheim.

““Inevitably as time passes these magnificent trees will eventually die out, however by carefully propagating and protecting saplings grown from acorns produced by the original oaks we will be able to ensure the legacy of these great survivors will live on into the future.”

The saplings will come with information on how to care and plant them.

People are warned to think carefully about where they do plant the trees, however, because they can reach heights of up to 35 meters.

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Blenheim Palace’s Head of Retail Judy Bendall said: “We can’t wait for visitors to have the chance to share in this incredible legacy and take home a very special part of Blenheim’s living history that could carry on growing for a thousand years.

“The fact that everyone who purchases a sapling also has another one planted here on the estate means they’re also part of Blenheim’s heritage.”

High Park has been recognised as one of the most biodiverse habitats in the UK.

The ancient woodlands support more than 100 different protected and notable species of fauna and flora; including around 50 different types of beetle and 16 butterfly and moth species.