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Venus of the Woods – The Ash

Venus of the Woods – The Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

Ash Tree


Known as the Venus of the Woods, the Ash is of graceful form, with curving limbs tapering towards the heavens. It is immortalised in the Welsh song, The Ash Grove, as a reminder of lost love:

Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander,
When twilight is fading I pensively rove
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander,
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove;
’Twas there, while the blackbird was cheerfully singing
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart!
Around us for gladness the bluebells were ringing,
Ah! then little thought I how soon we should part

One of our most common trees, the Ash is known for its winged bunches of seeds, called ‘keys’. But this tree is now under threat as the disease Ash Dieback sweeps through the countryside. A tall, broad tree that is tough and fast growing and until recently, had managed to colonise large areas where other trees had died or fallen. It is a good woodland tree as it is allows light to reach the forest floor and for plants, such as Dog Violet and Wild Garlic, to flourish. It is particularly common in the North and Wales where it favours damp and fertile soils in cooler conditions

It is one of our tallest trees, growing to about 40 metres in height and living for approximately 200-300 years. Deciduous in this country, Ash leaves are easily identifiable with 9-13 leaflets. the leaves fall when they are still green as the Ash doesn’t need the stored nitrogen in them. The first flowers are bourne when the Ash is about 30 years old, they are deep purple in colour and appear in April-May. They are a good source of food for night flying insects and bats. The fruits ripen through September and are ready for dispersal in October when they turn to brown. They hang in clusters like bunches of keys. Each fruit is about 3 cm long and the actual seed is half of this length, the rest being a wing to aid its dispersal

In Scandinavian mythology Ash was the ‘Tree of Life’ and regarded as a healing tree. Druids regarded the Ash as sacred and their wands were said to be made from Ash because of its straight grain. Today Ash is still the wood of choice for making tool handles and sport equipment such as hammers, axes and spades, and hockey sticks and oars. In the 19th century Ash was used to construct carriages and today, Britain’s Morgan Motor Company still uses Ash to make the frames for its cars

We make and source beautiful things from natural materials

We are specialists in hand made Leather goods including studded Dog Collars and wallets from 200 year old Russian Reindeer Leather; offering for sale a range of ethical tailored Clothing and wool knitwear and a collection of useful but beautiful Homeware made from HornLeatherWool: old and new Welsh blankets and textiles; Slate and Wood . As well as an eclectic selection of one-off collectibles in our Originals section

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