Philip Pullman plants OPT Coronation Tree at Boars Hill

Sir Philip Pullman helps Oxford Preservation Trust once again celebrate the King’s Coronation by planting a tree on Boars Hill with local Scouts. 


For nearly 90 years, Oxford Preservation Trust has commemorated Royal events by planting trees across Oxford.  Beginning in 1937, when OPT celebrated the coronation of King George VI by planting a row of fastigiate hornbeams along Sunderland Avenue, at 2.30 pm on 25 November. These trees have been made world-famous by Sir Philip Pullman in the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.  In 2012 and 2022, the author helped OPT plant trees along Marston Ferry Link Road and Larkins Lane Field in Old Headington to celebrate the Queen's Golden and Platinum Jubilees, once again at 2.30 pm on 25 November. 

And so, at 2.30 pm on 25 November 2023, Sir Philip continued the tradition by planting a majestic English Oak on Old Berkeley Golf Course, Boars Hill, to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.  It was a glorious Autumn afternoon when the author met with Scouts from Abingdon and Wootton & Dry Sandford, along with and a Cub and Girl guide from Kennington, to celebrate planting this special tree overlooking the spectacular view of the Dreaming Spires. Afterwards, the local community, volunteers, supporters, and the Robinson family whose generosity made this all possible warmed up together over tea and cake at the nearby Youlbury Scout Adventures Centre. 

Thanks also go to Land agents Savills, and landscape specialist, Nicholsons. 

Debbie Dance, OPT Director, says “It was extraordinary to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III in this special way, as we approach our own centenary in 2027. We hope the King's Oak will stand proud on this very special part of Oxford for years to come. Special thanks go to Sir Philip for his continued part in OPT’s history of planting trees.”