Ast Wood's native trees
This small patch of woodland floor has leaves from maple, service, oak, birch, spanish chestnut and aspen trees. Another patch might include ones from alder, elm, small leaved lime, hazel; or holly, yew and hawthorn.
Chequers Tree (© Andrew Dunn)
Ast Wood contains a wide variety of native trees , including small leaved lime, aspen, cherry, yew, holly and elm, and a lot of wild service trees. This tree, Sorbus Torminalis, is typical of old and undisturbed lowland primary woodland, and its presence is a good indicator that a wood is likely to be ancient and of high conservation value.
The Malvern Hills and southeast Herefordshire are one of its British strongholds, and it reaches some of its highest densities in woods on the Woolhope Dome. Ast Wood contains these trees throughout much of the wood. But interestingly there are none in the northeast part, which shows signs of old ridge and furrow, suggesting that once (perhaps in early medieval times) it was cultivated and the service trees were eliminated and did nor return.
It has attractive flowers in spring (but they smell rather horrid), berries, or 'chequers' which are sweet when they have matured (gone brown and a bit squishy) and can be eaten, and leaves which turn striking colours of gold and pink and red in autumn.