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Tall Trees
Back to Skinny WoodsOn to the Punchy Tree

There are three distinct areas to this community woodland: a fenced-off area, an unmown area and a mown area.

The ground plants in the unmown areas mostly consist of Cocksfoot grass, Creeping Buttercup, Lesser Celandine, Dandelion, Cow Parsley, Broad-leaved Dock, Ribwort Plantain, Thistle and Ragwort. You may also be able to find the blue flowers of Germander Speedwell near the sandstone wall.

The fenced off area contains a lot of small Alder trees, a large Sycamore and two large Ash trees. In Nordic myth, Ash is known as Yggdrasil – the mighty tree inhabited by fabulous animals and giants, linking earth with the heavens and the underworld.

In Scots history, the sap of the Ash tree was thought to give strength. It was boiled down to a syrup and fed to newborn babies.

Ash gives a very light wood, which is almost shatterproof. It was therefore the number one choice for tool handles. It was also used to make boats, furniture and ploughs.

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Ash tree in early Spring

Its leaves are ‘compound’ leaves, which means that each leaf is made up of lots of smaller ‘leaflets’. (They look like a collection of separate leaves attached to one stalk.) Their structure allows dappled sunlight to get through to the ground, enabling other plants to grow underneath. In autumn, the trees produce clusters of winged seeds, which hang from the branches like bunches of keys. This gives them their name of ‘Ash keys’ and they often remain on the tree all winter. This is how you can identify an Ash tree in the winter. If there are no keys, the buds are a dead give-away: they are large, chunky and black - unlike any other British tree’s buds.

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Beech and Sycamores - late summer

There are Four Sycamores in the open unmown area (and there's one in the children’s play area), one Ash and one Beech tree and some saplings of Oak, Rowan and Beech. By the wall are Elder, Wych Elm, Holly and Ash.

 The strimmed area contains two Common Lime trees. The ground species here mainly consist of Annual Meadow-grass with a few Daisies and Dandelions. Also look out for Starlings digging up worms in the grass!

What to look out for and when

Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Glossy green Lesser Celandine leaves and yellow flowers in unmown grass

Delicate Cow Parsley leaves in unmown areas

Green downward-drooping clusters of Sycamore flowers

Pink Geranium flowers in the mown grass.

Grasses in flower beneath the trees - Yorkshire Fog, Cocksfoot, Wavy Hair Grass (Yorkshire Fog: soft, furry leaves, pale purple flowerheads)

Green flowers of Lime trees

Different shapes of tree and shrub leaves

Yellow Dandelions and yellow-and-white Daisies in grass

Grasses - all golden now

Speedwell in grass – still in flower (blue/purple)

Brown Plantain flowers

Yellow Ragwort flowers

FluffyThistle heads

Red stalks and brown flower heads of Dock

Hogweed seed-heads in long grass, by Lime trees

Nettles with drooping flowers

Lime tree leaves yellowing and falling – look for seeds on ground, with wing attached 

Niddrie Burn - full. See birds sweeping over it catching flies. 

Listen to birds in trees - especially clicks and whoop wheeeeeooooww! 

Grass still standing upright and straw-coloured.

Cones and catkins on Alder trees in fenced-off area

Clumps of 'keys' (winged seeds) on Ash trees

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Go explore for yourself!