CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF WELWYN GARDEN CITY IN 2020

CITY OF TREES

Welwyn Garden City Arboretum

Sherrardspark Woods Walk

Whilst awaiting the arrival of the beautiful autumn colours, here are some things to look out for on a walk in Sherrardspark Wood in September.

The wood is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), because a significant part of it is dominated by sessile oaks and hornbeam trees. Use the walk route in the City of Trees Sherrardspark Wood leaflet to hunt out the leaves, acorns and seed cases as detailed below.

Sessile and Pedunculate Oaks

Use the three photos to help spot the differences between acorns on sessile and pedunculate oaks. 1. Sessile oak. The acorns have no stalk and sit directly on the distal twigs. 2. The leaves of the sessile oak have long stalks. 3. Pedunculate oak. The acorns havea long stalk and the leaves have a very short stalk. There are very few pedunculate oaks in the wood and they may be very difficult to differentiate from hybrid oaks which have some characteristics of both. Most acorns have already fallen. There are plenty on the ground, although the squirrels are working hard to hide them! If you like a challenge, in mid-September, there are still acorns with long stalkson an oak tree which is on your left as you go uphill between points 12 and 16 on the map of the Sherrardspark Wood walk. The branches come quite low so hopefully easier to see. Good luck!

1. Sessile Oak

A photo of Sessile Oak Acorns
The acorns have no stalk and sit directly on the distal twigs.

2. Sessile Oak

A photo of Sessile Oak Long Stalks

The leaves of the sessile oak have long stalks.

3. Pedunculate Oak

A photo of a Pedunculate Oak

The acorns have a long stalk and the leaves have a very short stalk. There are very few pedunculate oaks in the wood and they may be very difficult to differentiate from hybrid oaks which have some characteristics of both. Most acorns have already fallen. There are plenty on the ground, although the squirrels are working hard to hide them! If you like a challenge, in mid-September, there are still acorns with long stalks on an oak tree which is on your left as you go uphill between points 12 and 16 on the map of the Sherrardspark Wood walk. The branches come quite low so hopefully easier to see. Good luck!

4. Sweet Chestnut
(Castanea sativa)
A photo of some Sweet Chestnut Fruit

These green spiky cases contain the shiny, red-brown fruits of the sweet chestnut tree. They are found in clusters and are smaller than the cases of the horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)which contain conkers. The leaves of the sweet chestnut are single, long leaves witha toothed or serrated edge and a pointed tip, whilst those of the horse chestnut are hand-shaped or ‘palmate’. The bark of the sweet chestnut typically spirals anti-clockwise. There are some good specimens on the edge of the wood at point 13 on the map.

5. Beech
(Fagus sylvatica)
A photo of some Beech Nut Cases

These prickly cases contain one or two triangular beech nuts. Note the shiny leaves with a wavy or scalloped edge. These will turn a beautiful coppery colour in the next few weeks. There is an avenue of beech trees at point 10 on the map but you will have to search for the remaining cases.

5. Rowan or Mountain Ash
(Sorbus aucuparia)
A photo of a Rowan tree
The rowan, with scarlet berries and leaves which are feather-like or ‘pinnate’, have 6 to 8 pairs of toothed-leaflets plus one at the end. This tree is at point 5 on the map.
7. Sycamore
(Acer pseudoplatanus)
A photo of Sycamore Samaras
The winged seeds (also known as ‘samaras’) and leaves of the sycamore. There is a very large sycamore at point 12 on the map and several smaller specimens in the wood.
Download the leaflet from the website here:

Or pick up from bookshops in town.

Take at look at some of the other wonderful walks

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