Middle Oak is testament to the deep divisions evident by the 1990s in the now souring relationship between motor vehicle and the countryside. Middle Oak, as it came to be called, stands at an intersection of the Newbury bypass just immediately to the west of the town of Newbury itself. In the early months of 1996, Middle Oak was one of the focal points for protest against the building of the bypass. This nine mile stretch of new dual carriageway required the felling of 10,000 trees and cut through three Sites of Special Scientific Interest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a nature reserve and a Civil War battlefield. As with other controversial road schemes of the time, such as the Twyford Down extension of the M3 in 1994, the Newbury project aroused a storm of direct action environmental protest. From the summer of 1995, impromptu camps sprang up along the proposed route with tents and benders on the ground and makeshift but elaborately connected and protected structures up in the trees. A guerilla war of attrition with the authorities grew in intensity as the winter progressed and pressure mounted to clear the area. In the event, Middle Oak was given a last minute reprieve and the bypass was constructed around it.
Art Bypass a unique art event held near Castle Donnington in Newbury, England on Sunday 25th August 1996. A mile-long string of outdoor environmental art roadworks including: sculpture, performance and film - created and presented by artists from around the world.