The Capon Tree
The Capon Tree, a hollow oak, is one of the last survivors of the ancient Jed Forest, and could be 1,000 years old. The vast trunk, with a 10m girth, has split in two. It's one of the 50 most significant trees in the UK. It gets its name from the Capuchin monks who sheltered under it as they travelled to Jedburgh Abbey. It is also a former meeting place of the Border Clans and was once known as "The Hanging Tree". It is very possible that the poet James Thomson was inspired by the Capon Tree as he wrote "The Seasons" based on his travels around the Jed Valley. The Capon Tree features in the ceremonial of the Jethart Callant's Festival.
The Capon Tree is situated on the banks of the River Jed less than 2 miles (3km) south of the town centre. The tree is reached by a pleasant walk of 15 minutes, following the main road south (A68), on pavements all the way, starting from the 1st bridge (near the Abbey) and it is on the right, just after the 3rd bridge. (Inhabitants of Jedburgh use the 4 crossings of the River Jed just to the south as a measure of distance from the town - you'll hear people talking about the 2nd bridge or the 4th bridge). Grid ref NT 650 188.
On the way, you pass the "Huttonian Singular Unconformity", one of the most important geological sites in the world.
Fifty Great British Trees were selected by the national conservation body (The Tree Council) in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - as a special way to mark the Golden Jubilee. From the oldest and the rarest to some of the most historically or culturally famous, they highlight the fundamental importance of trees to the national heritage and form a link between past and present. The 50 trees are all either impressively large, ancient, rare, striking and the stuff of history and legend. The Capon Tree is one of the six most significant in Scotland, and it ranks alongside trees such as the Fortingall Yew (the oldest living organism in Europe, possibly the world).