• wildwoodlandlearning

I really do find that spending time in nature is always therapy for me. It's a chance to connect with the natural world as well as grounding myself with the calmness.

Today I'm taking a bit of time to take in the wonders of the natural world as I walk up through the woods in Linn Park to find our Scots Elm or Wych Elm as it's known. I've chosen this tree to look at today as it is real sensory experience.

It's early morning and the sun is breaking through the clouds, the light and shade glimmers and cascades through the canopy of leaves above me in all their subtle tones of greens.

Activity Idea - Sit Spot

This is lovely activity to do to foster our connections with nature. It's so simple - just take some time to sit in one spot in the woods. I like to find a tree and sit against it. Even just for a few minutes, it's amazing what you can see and hear. Seeing the many different leaves, the mosses, the wildflowers, and dropped seeds. The spider wandering across it's web. Closing my eyes heightens the other senses and I can hear birds near and far, spotting the blue-tits as they fly close repeatedly to help themselves to the Elm Seeds. I take in the earthy smell of the woods, grasses, bark and start to single out the different noises the trees are making as the wind flows through their leaves. Wonderful!

The Scots Elm

This is a resilient, determined, and hardy survivor of a tree! Elms generally have been in decline due to Dutch Elm Disease (a fungal infection carried by a beetle). The Scots Elm is hardier than most and although rare we still see it in good numbers in the NW of Scotland.

This tree is unique for several reasons and if you check a tree identification guide under 'similar species' it says "none". I always feel so happy to see it.

Have a look at our video or identification traits below to see what to look out for to spot this special tree.

The Leaves

The leaves are unique as they are asymmetric (most leaves are symmetrical). This means they are bigger on one-side than the other or unequal. They are also quite large and toothed with tapered points. A beautiful green, they have hairs on both sides of the leaf which when touched is rough to the feel like sandpaper.

The Bark

The bark of a mature tree is quite brown with deep vertical cracks - its very rough to touch. A younger tree is more grey and smooth.

The branches are the other way round with a mature trees branches grey and the younger tree branches brown.

The Seeds

The Elms seeds are very visible just now. The are light green, flat papery round pods in clusters with the seed inside. The birds love them as a food source. They are falling off the tree like snow at the moment with lots lying on the ground to look at too. Other Elm species produce new trees through suckers that grow off their root systems, but the Scots Elm doesn't and new trees only grow from the seeds it sows.

So that is our sensory journey around the Scots Elm tree. The rough hairy unequal leafs, cracked brown bark and papery light green seed pods to look out for. Finally the shape of the tree - historically Elms could be giants that lived for over 500 years but now it is much rarer to see older trees, however mature trees can be as tall as 40 meters and have several prominent trunks rising from one stout bole.

It's been a real pleasure to be out in the woods this morning, I hope you all manage to get out and spend time in the wonder of nature too this week.

Take care folks!


  • wildwoodlandlearning

Updated: May 22

This weeks tree to identify is the Bird Cherry. It can be found in wet woodland and hedgerows as it seems to like to grow in cramped conditions. These photos of the Bird Cherry in our blog were taken on the banks of the White Cart river near Linn Park.

As you can see the beautifully scented blossom is currently on show, spring time is best for all blossom displays. The flowers are clustered along short stalks. Like wild cherry, the flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees. The cherries are eaten by birds, including the blackbird and song thrush, as well as mammals such as badger and wood mouse.

The leaves are oval and smooth except for the tufts of hair under the vein joints. Unlike wild cherry, the edges have fine, sharp serrations, with pointed tips. The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of many moth species, including the Bird Cherry Ermine Moth.

The Bird Cherry Ermine moth larvae creates web-like nests sometimes covering the whole tree. They feed on the leaves and grow very quickly into caterpillars which in turn pupate into the (really quite beautiful) Bird Cherry Ermine Moth. Keep your eyes peeled for these webs as it's incredible to see just how many caterpillars are inside them.

The bark of the bird cherry has the familiar stripes and papery thin features of all trees in the Cherry family. It's dark brown and has an acrid smell when cut. The smell is so strong it was believed to ward of the plague from a household if a branch was placed at the front door!

Good luck in finding a Bird Cherry and everything that lives in it!

Happy hunting :)


  • wildwoodlandlearning

Hi Folks

This week’s tree that would be nice to keep an eye out for is the Hawthorn.

May really is the month that Hawthorn comes to life. It is very common and you can see it anywhere from gardens, lanes, verges, hedgerow and woodlands.

It’s spiny bare branches now have a fresh coat of strong leaves and it’s stunning scented white blossom sets it apart from the crowd.

Have a look at our video of the Hawthorn or see the identification traits to look out for below.

Leaves – Feel tough to the touch with tufted hairs, darker green above paler below. They are small with 3-5 deeply divided toothed lobes.

Flowers – They appear initially as tiny white balls in clusters then the white flowers open with a fantastic scent, white flowers with a pink tinge. The mass of leaves and flowers cover the whole tree and the branches droop as they are weighted down with them.

Bark – Orangey and cracked, becoming gnarly with age in older trees.

Value to Wildlife – Hawthorn provides food and shelter to lots birds, small mammals and a variety of insect life so is a very important tree! It’s home to many varieties of moth larvae like Ermines and Lappets, with the leaves a meal for the emerging caterpillars and the Hawthorn shield bug amongst dozens of other insects. Its seeds are sown by the birds, voles, mice that eat them.

History - A Hawthorn can live for over 400 years and remains of it have been found in megalithic tombs. Hawthorn is so engrained in ancient history that its life cycle has become part of village life. From May-day celebrations to weddings, poets and writers have written about the Hawthorn representing human nature, rebirth and fertility.

Mark the fair blooming of the Hawthorn tree,

Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,

Fills full the wanton eye with May’s delight.


Good luck with finding the beautiful Hawthorn tree this week!

Take care

Love fromWILD


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