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Planting tomorrow’s great native woodland

Discover more at

The Heart of England Forest, Colletts Farm, Dorsington,

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 8AU Get to know the native broadleaf trees
T 01789 491391  E
Registered charity no. 1097110  Company no. 04309564
that make up the Heart of England Forest.
Welcome... Hello and welcome to the Heart of England Forest!

As we roll back the loss of England’s native woodland

and the forest continues to stretch across the heart of
England, we can see an exciting and positive change
on the landscape.

So far, we have planted over 1.4 million trees, creating

the largest, new native forest in the country, right on the
doorstep of large cities like Birmingham and Coventry.

And as we progress towards our goal – a woodland

of well over 10 million trees – we can see how
this transformation is benefiting England’s natural
environment. With native wildlife returning to the area
and endangered species now thriving, the forest is fast
becoming a haven for nature and nature lovers alike.

With your help, we can keep our vision alive and

growing, planting a green and beautiful place that is
teeming with native wildlife – a special place of natural
beauty for our children and grandchildren to cherish.

Thank you for all your support.

Stephen Coffey
Head Forester,
Heart of England Forest

Our trees
English Oak 4
Sessile Oak 4 Here at the Heart of England
Sweet Chestnut 5
Forest we only plant native
Beech 5
broadleaf trees; this handy tree
BIRCH FAMILY guide introduces you to all those


Common Alder 6 beautiful, native trees and shrubs.
Silver Birch 6 Together, these 24 species will
Hornbeam 7 create a forest that looks, smells
MAPLE FAMILY and feels like the natural English Quercus robur Quercus petraea
Sycamore 7 woodlands we have lost.
A symbol of strength and the The crown of this majestic,
Field Maple 8 national tree of many countries, deciduous tree is domed, with
These magnificent trees will be
including England, this species branches that are straighter than
LIME FAMILY preserved for generations to dominates deciduous woodland those of the English oak. Also, its
Small Leaved Lime 8 come, and hopefully you will be and accounts for around 35% leaves have longer stalks and its
able to spot some of them as you of all the saplings we plant. trunk is more upright.
enjoy wandering through our Height: Up to 40m. Height: Up to 40m.
Ash 9
Common Privet 9 enchanting woodlands. Where to find: Lowland woodlands. Where to find: Upland forest, hilly
areas and drier soils.
check them
Leaves: Dark green with  wavy edge.

Don’t forget to
WILLOW FAMILY Fruit: Acorns with a stalk. Leaves: Dark green with wavy edge.

see them.
Willow 10
off when you
Flowers: Pale green male catkins and Fruit: Acorns without stalks (‘sessile’).
Aspen 10
Black Poplar 11 ✓ reddish-brown female flower.
Wildlife value: Supports up to 400
insect species, feeding a wide range
Flowers: Green male catkins and
hairy, red female buds.
Wildlife value: Provides a habitat for
of birds and small mammals. over 280 insect species, roosting bats
Wild Service Tree 11
Did you know? One of the UK’s and nesting birds. The acorns are a
Rowan 12 food source for a number of birds,
largest oak trees stands in the heart
Wild Cherry 12 red squirrels and badgers.
of Sherwood Forest, and according
Whitebeam 13 to folklore it was Robin Hood’s Did you know? In a good year, the
headquarters! sessile oak can produce up to 50,000
HONEYSUCKLE FAMILY acorns, but it does not yield its first
Guelder Rose 13 good crop until it is around 40 to 50
Wayfaring Tree 14 years old!

Spindle 14

Hazel 15

Dogwood 15

Castanea sativa
Fagus sylvatica
Alnus glutinosa
Betula pendula

This spectacular, broad-crowned, Often considered the queen A deciduous tree belonging to the This elegant, slender deciduous
deciduous tree is regarded as an of British trees, this impressive birch family, alder trees adapt to tree owes its common name to the
‘honorary native’, introduced by deciduous species has such delicate conditions quickly and grow rapidly, grey, white or silver bark on its trunk,
the Romans. In old age, it can bark that any carvings, like lovers’ so are ideal for re-establishing which appears to peel away like
become hollow, making the perfect initials, stay on the tree for many woodlands. paper.
woodland den! years before it can heal itself.
Height: Up to 20m. Height: Up to 20m.
Height: Up to 35m. Height: Up to 50m. Where to find: Damp places, Where to find: Dry woodland
Where to find: Southern England, Where to find: Woodland, chalky riverbanks. and moors.
woods and copses. or loamy soils. Leaves: Large, almost round and Leaves: Light green triangle with
Leaves: Long, oblong and glossy Leaves: Shiny, green ovals with wavy dark green. serrated edge.
with noticeable parallel veins. edge. Fruit: Clusters of small cones. Fruit: Female catkins thicken and
Fruit: Shiny, red-brown nuts in a Fruit: Beechnuts (‘beachmast’) Flowers: Yellow male catkins and turn red.
green, spiky case. held in a prickly casing. green female catkins. Flowers: Long, yellow-brown male
Flowers: Long, yellow catkins of Flowers: Tassel-like male catkins and Wildlife value: Roots make great catkins and short, green female
mostly male flowers, with female female flowers surrounded otter nests. Home to several insects, catkins.
flowers at the base. by a casing. lichens and fungi. Wildlife value: Open canopy allows
Wildlife value: Important food Wildlife value: Supports many Did you know? Alpine farmers are a variety of plants to grow beneath.
source for insects looking for nectar, species of fungi. Birds and mammals said to use the leaves to alleviate Provides food and habitat for over
and squirrels feast on the nuts. feast on the fruit. rheumatism, placing a heated bag 300 insect species.
Did you know? The Romans Did you know? In some countries, full of them on the affected area. Did you know? The silver birch is
introduced the sweet chestnut dried beech leaves are used Finland’s national tree. Leafy, fragrant
into Britain to grow the nuts, instead of feathers as a stuffing for boughs of silver birch (called ‘vihta’
which were ground into mattresses or ‘vasta’) are used to gently beat
flour or roasted to feed and pillows. oneself in Finnish sauna culture!
the legionaires.

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Acer campestre
Carpinus betulus Acer pseudoplatanus Tilia cordata

Similar to beech, this deciduous A member of the maple family and The UK’s only native maple, this Depicted in our Heart of England
tree can live for more than 300 the largest European maple, it is deciduous species is widely planted Forest logo, this deciduous ancient
years, and yields a very strong timber believed to have been introduced as an ornamental tree in gardens and tree dates back to the end of the
that was used to make furniture, to the UK in the Middle Ages and parks due to its tolerance of pollution last Ice Age and is becoming an
butchers’ chopping blocks and is now a naturalised species.  This and beautiful, rich autumn colours. increasingly rare sight in Britain.
cogs for windmills. deciduous tree is fast growing. When Height: Up to 15m. Height: Up to 40m.
mature, it provides a grand, domed
Height: Up to 25m. Where to find: Woodland, hedgerows. Where to find: Well drained, lime
outline in the countryside.
Where to find: Mainly found in South Leaves: Small, dark green with rich soil.
East England.  Associated with oak Height: Up to 30m. five rounded lobes. Leaves: Heart shaped with red-brown
woodlands. Where to find: Common throughout hairs on the underside.
Fruit: Reddish-green, winged ‘samara’.
Leaves: Green, oval, toothed and Britain they grow in almost any soil type.
Flowers: Clusters of yellow-green, Fruit: Small, round, nut-like.
pleated with pointed tip. Leaves: Dark green, large with five cup-shaped flowers. Flowers: Erect clusters of green-
Fruit: Papery, oval, winged ‘samaras’. lobes and pointed tip.
Wildlife value: Attractive to aphids, yellow, sweet-smelling flowers.
Flowers: Long, yellow male catkins Fruit: Winged fruit ‘samara’. and the flowers provide nectar. Wildlife value: Important food source
and short, green female catkins. Flowers: Yellow-green, dangling The leaves are a source of food for insects looking for nectar, and the
Wildlife value: Important food source clusters of flowers. for several caterpillars. leaves are very attractive to aphids.
for caterpillars of a number of moth Benefits to wildlife: Flowers Did you know? The field maple Did you know? The flowers can be
species. produce abundant nectar, and the was chosen as one of the trees to line dried to make a soothing tea (called
Did you know? The name ‘hornbeam’ seeds are a food source for birds the aisle of Westminster Abbey at the ‘Linden Tea’ or ‘Tieull’), which was
derives from the hardness of the and small mammals. royal wedding of Kate and William as used during the war to calm nerves.
wood (likened to horn) and the old Did you know? Sycamore seeds it symbolises reserve and humility.
English word ‘beam’, meaning ‘tree’. are known as ‘helicopters’ because
their wings rotate
similar to a

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Fraxinus excelsior
Lingustrum vulgare
Populus tremula

Ash is the 3rd most common tree in This fast-growing, deciduous or In the Heart of England Forest, we This spectacular deciduous tree of
Britain. The last time we planted ash semi-evergreen shrub or small tree plant three of the 400 different shimmering leaves is a very hardy
was in 2012 due to the threat of the makes a good, dense hedge if species of willow – grey, purple osier species that tolerates long, cold
ash dieback fungal disease, which clipped regularly. and common osier. Also known as winters and short summers, and
we have sadly now found some ‘sallows’ and ‘osiers’. Osier ‘withies’ grows very large, very quickly!
cases of within the forest. Height: Up to 4m. are traditionally used for basket
Where to find: Lime rich soils. making and weaving. Height: Up to 20m.
Height: Up to 35m.  here to find: North and West
Leaves: Shiny, dark green and oval. Height: Up to 7-10m.
Where to find: River banks and lime Scotland. Woodland and copse edges
rich soils. Fruit: Clusters of small, black berries. Where to find: Woodlands, in England.
Leaves: 7-13 toothed, light green, Flowers: ‘Panciles’ of creamy-white, hedgerows and damp soil. Leaves: Green, large and round
oval leaflets. unpleasantly scented, tubular flowers. Leaves: Long, thin and dark green with blunt teeth
Fruit: Winged fruit (‘keys’). Wildlife value: Ideal nesting site for (except grey willow, which has Fruit: Female catkins release fluffy
several birds. Flowers attract insects, oval leaves). seeds.
Flowers: Dense clusters of tiny, and birds feast on the berries.
purple flowers. Fruit: Female catkins turn into fruit Flowers: Green-brown male
Did you know? The berries are capsules. catkins and green female catkins
Wildlife value: Leaves are a food poisonous to humans, but are
source for a number of caterpillars, Flowers: Yellowish male catkins (but not on the same tree).
relished by birds, especially thrushes. and greenish female catkins (but on
and, like most trees, a variety of birds Wildlife value: Woodpeckers nest in
use the tree for nesting. separate trees). holes in the tree.
Did you know? In Norse Viking Wildlife value: Catkins provide nectar, Did you know? The botanical name
mythology, the ash was regarded and the branches make good nesting ‘tremula’ describes the way the leaves
as the ‘tree of life’. sites for birds. ‘tremble’ in the slightest breeze.
In Britain, it was Did you know? Grey willow is
believed to have sometimes called ‘pussy willow’
healing powers, after the silky, grey female flowers,
and widely which look similar to a cat’s paw.
considered Also, the first aspirin was derived
a source of from willow bark.
magic and

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Sorbus torminalis
Populus nigra Sorbus aucuparia Prunus avium

The black poplar is a large robust tree Sometimes called the ‘chequer’ This popular, deciduous tree with Also known as ‘gean’ and ‘sweet
that can live for as long as 200 years. or ‘checker’ tree, this deciduous feather-like leaves and bright red cherry’, this deciduous tree is
It gets its name from its distinctive, species is highly valued at the fruits was thought to ward off evil perhaps one of the prettiest native
gnarly bark, which although actually Heart of England Forest because spirits, so was planted in churchyards woodland trees, and is a popular
dark brown, often appears to be black. of its rarity in England. and outside houses as protection. ornamental tree for gardens.
Sadly it is the most endangered native
timber tree in Britain. Height: Up to 15m. Height: Up to 15m. Height: Up to 30m.
Where to find: Ancient woodland Where to find: Woodland margins Where to find: Woodland margins
Height: Up to 30m. and hedgerows. and hedgerows. and hedgerows.
Where to find: Close to streams and Leaves: Dark green, unequal lobes, Leaves: 5-8 pairs of dark green Leaves: Green, oval and toothed.
along hedgerows. similar to maple. oval, toothed leaflets. Fruit: Shiny, red cherries.
Leaves: Finely toothed, smooth and Fruit: Tiny, brown ‘pomes’. Fruit: Small, bright orange to
triangular. Flowers: Clusters of white,
Flowers: Clusters of small, red ‘pomes’. cup-shaped flowers.
Fruit: Once fertilized, female catkins white flowers. Flowers: Clusters of pungent, sweet-
develop into fluffy cotton wool like Wildlife value: Flowers provide
Wildlife value: Flowers provide smelling creamy-white flowers. nectar, and birds and small mammals
nectar, and the fruits feed many Wildlife value: Flowers provide feast on the cherries.
Flowers: Male catkins are red and birds. The leaves are a source of nectar, and the fruit is a rich
hang down. Female catkins are Did you know? The second part
food for several caterpillars. source of food for many birds.
yellow-green and stand. of its botanical name, ‘avium’, refers
Did you know? The fruits are Did you know? Rowan is a great to birds, which eat the cherries and
Wildlife value: Important food plant edible when over-ripe (‘bleted ’) and source of vitamin C. It tastes bitter disperse the seed!
for the caterpillars of many moths. taste similar to dates, and were once when fresh, but can be made into
Their catkins are also an early source given as sweets to children and made a delicious jelly that goes well with
of pollen and nectar for bees into an alcoholic drink. meat or game dishes.
and other insects.
Did you know?
The black
poplar featured
heavily in the
paintings of
John Constable.

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Sorbus aria
Viburnum opulus
Viburnum lantana
Euonymus europaea

This deciduous tree is particularly This is one of the prettiest deciduous The wayfaring tree is often planted The spindle is a very attractive
eye-catching in spring when the native shrubs thanks to its large as an ornamental shrub for its lovely, deciduous woodland shrub with
pale underside of its leaves gives white flower heads and glistening large flower heads and spectacular a magnificent autumn display of
the whole crown a striking silvery red berries in autumn. autumn colour. It also makes a good leaf and seed colours.
white look. addition to countryside hedges.
Height: Up to 4m. Height: Up to 7m.
Height: Up to 15m. Where to find: Damp scrub, old Height: Up to 5m. Where to find: Hedgerows,
Where to find: Woodland margins hedgerows and woods. Where to find: Woodland edges, woodland edges.
and hedgerows. Leaves: Large, three lobes, with scrub, hedgerows. Leaves: Green, oval with toothed
Leaves: Thick, dark green, shiny, oval toothed edge. Leaves: Large, grey-green oval with edge.
and toothed edge. Fruit: Groups of bright red berries. round-toothed edge. Fruit: Bright pink pods with bright
Fruit: Bright red berries. Flowers: Clusters of small, white Fruit: Groups of red berries ripening orange seeds that resemble popcorn
Flowers: Clusters of creamy-white flowers surrounded by larger, to black . Flowers: Clusters of tiny, greenish-
flowers. flat, white flowers. Flowers: Small, cream, tubular flowers yellow flowers.
Wildlife value: Berries are readily Wildlife value: Flowers attract insects, form a domed flower Wildlife value: Flowers are a rich
eaten by birds, and the leaves are food and many birds eat the berries. head (‘umbel’). source of nectar, and the leaves
for a number of caterpillars. Did you know? The berries are toxic Wildlife value: Flowers attract insects, attract aphids and caterpillars.
Did you know? The common name if eaten raw, but can be cooked into and the berries are an important food Did you know? The creamy-white
is Anglo-Saxon. The German word a tasty jelly or jam. The bark can be for birds. wood is very hard and dense, and
for tree is ‘baum’, and the ‘white’ effective in relieving muscle cramps Did you know? The wayfaring tree was once used for spindles, skewers,
element comes from the appearance when used in a tincture. is so called as it is a common sight pegs and knitting needles.
of the tree. along roadsides and footpaths,
especially on dry, limestone soils.

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Corylus avellana

This attractive, deciduous shrub

Cornus sanguinea

A popular ornamental plant, this

or small tree is one of the most shrub or small tree is used in gardens
important woody plants for for its rich crimson colour in autumn.
‘coppicing’, a traditional method It also forms a good natural barrier The Heart of England Forest is an inspiring, ambitious charity
of woodland management. along watersides.
and we are hugely grateful to the support of volunteers,
Height: Up to 12m. Height: Up to 10m. friends, trusts and companies who play a crucial role in helping
Where to find: Woodland, scrub, Where to find: Prefers damp soil. the forest to grow! In particular we’d like to recognise local
hedgerows. Leaves: Bright green, oval with company, Leader, who have recently supported our work.
Leaves: Large, heart-shaped, curving veins. James, Managing Director explains further:
mid-green, toothed and hairy. Fruit: Small, black berries
Fruit: Nut held in woody husk.

Leader, is a Warwickshire keen botanical illustrator
Flowers: Yellow male catkins and Flowers: Clusters of creamy-white
short, red female tufts. flowers. based PR, Design and and has provided all the line
Wildlife value: Leaves and nuts Wildlife value: The flowers attract
Marketing consultancy.   drawings of leaves, fruits and
are an important food source for insects and many birds and mammals In 2015 we celebrated our flowers used in this guide.
birds, the dormouse and other small eat the berries. 50th anniversary and in
mammals. Did you know? In the past, bark- commemoration supported the We hope you enjoy discovering
Did you know? In spring, hazel is free branches of dogwood were
planting of ‘Leader Wood’, more about the trees that are
so bendy that you can tie it in a knot used as toothbrushes, and tea made
a 6.5 acre parcel within the returning to their natural home
without it breaking! from the bark could be used to treat
pain and fever. Heart of England Forest that in the Heart of England Forest
is now clothed in native trees. – an amazing recreation of our

native broadleaf woodland.
Leader has also been pleased to
support the production of this
handy ‘Tree Guide’, not only to
foster a better understanding
of the wonderful trees that form
the forest, but also because our
founder, Bryan Holden, is a
Will you help
the forest grow?
The Heart of England Forest is committed to
planting tomorrow’s great native woodland
– right in the heart of the Midlands.

Our goal is to reach 30,000 acres and work has

already begun. More than one million trees have
already been planted. The forest is set to be a haven
of airy glades, shady canopies and safe habitats
for our native wildlife. It will be a rich, joined-up
collection of new and ancient woodlands,
meandering across the heart of England.

This is an ambitious vision and we’d love for

you to come and see it for yourself! Whether you
join our forest team on a Woodland Walk, attend
an event in the forest or use this guide as you
explore our paths and trails, it would be great to
see you out and about in the heart of England.

For more details about what you can do today,

please go to

Find out about guided walks, forest events

and new walking routes at:

Thank you, we look forward to seeing you soon.


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