No the oaks are not all dead! But winter is a good time to visit too.
Pollard trees are cut back regularly to provide a regular crop of the new growth. The cut is done high well above the reach of grazing animals.
The oaks of Clarken Coombe are no longer cut but retain the distinctive pollard shaping. They also lack the enormous lower limbs the weight of which can cause the heart of the oak to split, so they tend to live longer than a natural oak.
Clarken Coombe is an attractive wooded valley running down from Failand to Long Ashton. It has no brook or stream normally, just a small reed filled pond with no visible outlet.
The fallow deer park runs along the south facing side of the valley with a footpath running beside it. This is a good path to see the deer and you see them quite frequently in the open grassland portion at the lower end of the Coombe.
You can walk through the deer park at most times of the year. Follow the instructions on the gate and keep to the white posted path, it over looks the grassland area of the deer park too.
From the lower end of the Coombe, you reach the path shown above shortly after entering the wood, it runs up to the top of the Coombe and joins the Timberland Trail.
If you continue along the main footpath you pass the pollard oaks of Clarken Coombe. They are quite striking and give a dramatic effect especially in the Winter months.
A bridle path also runs from Clarken Coombe Lodge see a photo at the end of the mansion & lodges page, passing the reed pool to join the footpath later. This runs more or less along the lowest part of the valley and may be mucky if you walk it.