Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve


The woods in the reserve contain over 30 species of trees
For more information about a tree either click on the tree name below or scroll down.

Large Trees
Alder Ash Beech Common Lime Common (Pedunculate) Oak Crack Willow English Elm Grey Poplar Hornbeam Wych Elm Yew

Medium Trees
Field Maple Holly Rowan Silver Birch Whitebeam Wild Cherry Wild Service Tree

Small Trees & Shrubs
Alder Buckthorn Blackthorn Crab Apple Elder Grey Willow Hawthorn Hazel Purging Buckthorn Pussy Willow Wild Privet

Naturalised Trees
Evergreen (Holm) Oak Sweet Chestnut Sycamore Weeping Willow



Beech (Fagus sylvatica) The common name comes from the Norse buche or bok which also means book. Thin sheets of beech wood were used before paper was perfected. Beech timber is ideal for furniture. Steam treated strips of it become pliable enough to be bent double for chair backs. It does not smell or taste so is suitable for children's toys or in direct contact with food. Beech trees are relatively short lived, seldom lasting over 250 years.
The mighty, majestic Common or Pedunculate Oak has, throughout the centuries, been the subject of story, song and proverb. All oaks are deciduous trees with toothed leaves and heavy, furrowed bark. The fruit is, of course, the acorn. Like other deciduous trees, most oaks shed their leaves in the autumn. Oaks have always been economically important for their hard, strong wood which has a multitude of purposes including furniture and flooring.
The Yew (Txus Baccata) is a long lived tree with flaking, reddish bark on a buttressed trunk. The male and female flowers are on separate trees and the male trees release clouds of yellow pollen if shaken early in the Spring. The female trees bear the fleshy red fruits. Both have dark green flattened needles.
The Crack Willow (Salix Fragilis) is a tall fast growing tree with long straight branches. It has long, narrow, bright green leaves on twigs that snap off with ease (please don't try this otherwise we will end up with no low growing twigs). The catkins it produces are cylindrical and are to be seen in April. They are very common by rivers and in wet woods which is why they grow so well here.
The Grey Poplar (Populus Canescens) has a spreading crown and suckers. Its rounded oval leaves have teeth and are greyish underneath. In March they produce long, reddish male catkins and stout, greenish female catkins.
The Pussy Willow (Salix Caprea) forms a large bush or a small tree. Its broad oval leaves are dark green and are wrinkled on top and greyish underneath. Oval yellow male catkins are produced in March/April. The female catkins are longer and appear before the tree's leaves do.
The Silver Birch (Betula Pendula) is an elegant, slender tree which is very easy to recognize with its white trunk. The branches droop at their tips and have shiny twigs. It has pointed oval leaves with long and short teeth. It drops its brown male catkins April and May. The female catkins are small and upright but hang down when ripe and shed loads of winged seeds.
The Alder (Alnus Glutinosa) has a regular conical crown when young but becomes more open and straggling when mature. It has rounded green leaves. The male catkins have purple scales and yellow flowers whereas the females are smaller and purple and mature into a small brown cone.
The Hazel (Corylus Avellana) is a many stemmed shrub which occasionally forms trees in woodland. The zig-zag twigs are covered with reddish brown hairs and the toothed, rounded leaves end in a small point. The male flowers are the hanging catkins which are produced from January to March. The female flowers are small, round and bright red. The fruit ripen in late Autumn.
The Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus) is an attractive tree with a spreading, oval crown and a smooth grey-brown trunk which is buttressed at the base. It has toothed, pointed oval leaves with prominent veins. The male catkins are short, greenish and rather feathery, whilst the females are short, green and flower in April & May. The are often found in woods with Oak trees.
The Sweet Chestnut (Castenea Sativa) is a tall, spreading tree with deeply fissured brown bark which usually twists spirally around the trunk. It has long, narrow, strongly toothed leaves and dangling, rather sparse catkins with yellowish white male flowers at the tip and female at the base. It flowers in July which is later than most trees and has delicious edible fruits encased in a shiny shell which ripen in October.
The English Elm (Ulmus Procera) has a tall narrow crown with arching branches. It has dark green, broad oval leaves. The red tufted flowers appear in February & March and ripen in June to a winged fruit with the seed in the middle. They were once widespread in the South but are now ravaged by disease.
The Wych Elm (Ulmus Glabra) has a much more spreading crown than other elms and bark that is rough in old trees. The rough surfaced leaves have very short stalks. It is a common woodland tree and is more resistant to Dutch Elm Disease that the other elms.
The Sycamore (Acer Pdeudoplatanus) forms a domed tree with stout twigs bearing fat green buds. It's large, dark green leaves have 5 pointed, toothed lobes with dark blotches on them caused by fungus. The flowers hang in clusters in April and ripen to winged fruits in pairs at an angle of about 90 degrees.
The Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) is a small tree or shrub which often has branches that hang down to the ground. It has green twigs and very dark, glossy green leaves with spiny wavy edges. The small, white, 4 petalled flowers appear in clusters from May to August and then ripen into red berries.
The Common Lime (Tilia Vulgaris) is very tall with a ridged, bossed trunk and often has many suckers. It has large heart shaped leaves in clusters of 5-10. It originated as a hybrid between the Large Leaved Lime and the Small Leaved Lime.
The Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) is a very large tree with a ragged crown, often dying back at the top, altough neat and narrow when young