Wiltshire's Big Belly Oak can be seen from the side of the A346, but very few of the thousands of motorists who pass it each day will realise the extent of its history.

The ancient Oak tree which is located in Savernake Forest, just outside of Marlborough, is estimated to be between 1,000 to 1,100 years old, according to the Woodland Trust.

This means the tree would have taken root sometime between the late 900s and very early 1000s, making it older than William the Conqueror, born in 1028, who defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The Big Belly Oak, named as such for its 11-metre girth, is easily the oldest tree still standing in Savernake Forest.

Swindon Advertiser: The Big Belly Oak is so large you can't miss it.The Big Belly Oak is so large you can't miss it. (Image: Newsquest)

But just as health problems seem to come flooding in the closer we get to retirement, the Big Belly Oak has faced its own share of old-age issues.

The ancient tree has a large cavity in the middle of it, caused when the tree was pollarded, meaning that it was cut two-thirds up its trunk.

This cut was made to encourage new branches to grow, which they did, but the boughs on either side of the centre trunk then became so heavy they created a cavity to form.

It is currently the largest cavity of any pollarded tree in the Savernake Forest.

In 2001, the tree was so in danger of splitting in two, that it was fitted with a metal corset.

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The Big Belly Oak is not only Savernake Forest’s oldest tree, but it has also racked up several awards for the 4,500-acre forest in Wiltshire.

As part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, the tree was officially named one of the Fifty Great British trees due to the large number of monarchs that have reigned since the tree took root.

The Big Belly Oak has lived through almost every page of your school history book: including the medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan, Stuart, Jacobean, Georgian, Victorian and post-world war time periods.

The tree was also picked out as a a 'local celebrity' by Blacks outdoor company, who recently named Savernake Forest one of the top five UK autumn hikes.

However, in 2014 the ancient tree lost out on the title of English Tree of the Year.

It was pipped to the title by the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, said to have been the hideout of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, according to the Woodland Trust.