But, instead, we visited on a bright, sunny morning in August.
The oaks are apparently centuries old - and they certainly look, now, as though they no longer belong in the landscape; as though the surrounding countryside is continuing a cycle of life without them. But they haven't been abandoned altogether, because I've read that local wildlife, such as owls, can still be seen in and around the forest (I can just imagine visiting this place one late afternoon in winter, with owls hooting from the branches - now that really would be a haunting experience).
The Domesday Book mentions an old settlement called Wringehala, which was once located around here. But this has long since been lost. Also lost is the old name for the hundred in this area: Wibrihtesherne. The parishes in this area of the county are now part of the Dengie Hundred.
The Petrified Oak Forest looks out over the flat, open land that stretches down to the coast. On its other side, stands the small, fourteenth century church of St Mary's. This has been disused for decades, but has recently been restored and is now looked after by the Friends of Friendless Churches. The church is open to visitors.
|St Mary's Church, Mundon|