Autumn flowering Prunus
Black Hybrid Poplar
Blue Atlas Cedar
European or Common Beech
Horse Chestnut (Red & White)
Hybrid Black Poplar
Japanese Flowering Cherry
Oak Common & Red
Silver Leaved Maple
Western Red Cedar
Pendunculate or Common Oak (Quercus robur)
Native to this country, the word “robur” means sturdy and its strength and close grained timber made it a very useful material for the construction of houses and ships. In the reign of Elizabeth I some of the first conservation laws were passed to protect the tree. With the expansion of the Navy and trade, the demand for oak increased and led to major planting being carried out in the royal forests. We can still enjoy some of these four and five hundred year old trees today. They can grow up to 25m in height with a similar spread. A single tree will produce hundreds of acorns each year, of which it only needs one to develop into a mature tree every two hundred years, thus producing a large supply of food for animals. There are many examples in the Park and these clearly provide a food source for the squirrels. The specimen marked near the swimming pool entrance has a relatively long straight trunk having had side branches trimmed early in its life whereas the one shown on the map to the north of the lake has very large boughs springing from a low height.
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
Native to the S E of Britain, the hornbeam is a common tree in woodlands and hedges. The tree has a deeply fluted trunk, but the bark is smooth. The dark green leaves are oval and prominently veined turning to yellow and orange in the autumn. The tree bears catkins in the spring through till the autumn, when clusters of winged nuts appear. It can grow to 24m in height and provides a very hard and strong wood. Historically it was used in the production of spokes for carts and cogwheels such as used on watermills and windmills. Its use for butchers’ chopping blocks helps to demonstrate its durability. In the past it has often been coppiced or pollarded. This was to encourage fresh growth and the new shoots were cut for faggots, to make charcoal or as bean sticks. A typical hornbeam coppice can be seen in Norsey Woods. There are two trees marked on the map the one behind the tennis courts grows such that it is very easy to see the clusters of winged nuts being only 2m from the ground. The one by the football pitch has a distinctively fluted trunk and has a fungus (Ganoderma) growing through the bark.
Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron gigantum)
Native to the west coast of America especially in Sierra Nevada and California. It is considered one of the biggest and longest living things on earth. They can live 3,500years; the ones in Lake Meadows are mere babies being about 80 years old. The timber is of very little use as it easily breaks up. It does have a thick soft, fibrous bark which, because it contains no resins, gives protection from forest fires. There is a marvellous specimen located by the football pavilion displaying the typical shape with its large trunk tapering quite quickly. The other example, at the eastern end of the golf course, shows the thickness of the fibrous bark and the nature of the wood beneath.
Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Native to most Northern countries. The tree can grow up to 30m high with a spread of 25m, mature trees have a massive multi branched dome. As such, in beech woods they create a thick canopy that causes dense shade limiting the growth of other plants beneath. Beech trees have a smooth grey bark and produce shiny green oval leaves that have a wavy edge. It is an important tree for timber having a fine grain and being knot free, in addition it can be turned easily and bends beautifully. Chairs have been made in beech for centuries.
Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna)
Native to Britain and is commonly seen in hedgerows forming field boundaries, where, if well maintained, the dense thorny branches form an almost impenetrable barrier for farm animals. If allowed to grow into a tree they can reach 14m in height. The white blossom (also known as may blossom) is typically seen in the spring and leads to the fleshy dark red fruits (haws) which can be seen in the autumn.
London Plane (Platanus x hispanica)
Is a cross between the Oriental and American plane dating back to 1670. It is a very common street tree, planted to use its ability to withstand pollution; its shiny leaves are easily cleaned by rain and it sheds areas of its bark regularly taking with them the grime and pollution. Three good specimens can be found in a line north of the lake.
Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo bilba)
From China, introduced 1758, trees are either male or female. It is probably one of the oldest species found on earth with fossils found in coal seams formed some 250million years ago (Jurassic). The leaves have an unusual fan-like shape, partly divided in the middle and with parallel veins; the leaves turn yellow in autumn. It can grow to 30m but growth can be spasmodic and may even seem to stop growing for many years. It is worth a visit to the crazy golf area to see this tree.
Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
Introduced from China in 1948. Actually thought to have been extinct for 2million years, being only ever found in fossilised form until discovered at a grave in China in 1941, later several large specimens were found in Hupeh province. Unusually for a conifer it drops its needles in the autumn and uniquely the buds form below the branches. It is worth a visit to the crazy golf area to see this lovely specimen.