Fallen Hornbeams

There is a Hornbeam lined wide path which leads through our local wood. Workers from our village used the route to reach the next village and the Wrest Park estate, where Capability Brown had a hand in landscaping the grounds. Once owned by the de Grey family, the house and estate are now in the care of English Heritage.

Fallen Hornbeams

Fallen Hornbeams

The wood was sold off and a bypass built and is unconnected from the estate now. Its rarely managed by the current owners. Broken, splintered trees, fall and are left to nature but in the Autumn the route is especially beautiful.

Veteran Hornbeams - Warren Woods, Bedfordshire

Veteran Hornbeams – Warren Woods, Bedfordshire

Please take a look at other folk interpretations of this weeks photo challenge Broken.


49 thoughts on “Fallen Hornbeams

    • I find the root system interesting too, incredible what its designed to support or in this case did not. Our lane once joined this path in a straight line, we are cut off by a really busy road now but if we cross after the rush hour its still lovely to walk through here.

    • Yes I know just what you mean, beyond the path the remaining wood is in disrepair with many more trees down, mainly silver birches with a shorter life span.

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge-Broken | WoollyMuses

    • They mostly look sound to me Susie, this happened after especially strong winds, although seemingly very healthy trees can sadly come down for all sorts of reasons.

  2. So sad that the wood is not managed well. When I lived in England, I was really impressed when I learned about coppicing and woodland management. It’s not something I’d ever thought about. Beautiful images; especially the second. It makes me want to walk the path and see where it leads.

    • It now leads to two dissecting busy roads, where once it was a direct path from our lane to Wrest Park, a grand mansion house and historic garden. The wood has been up for sale again recently, hopefully someone will take it on and manage it, for now its just odd dog walkers who wander through.

  3. Hornbeams are lovely trees and are a good choice for hedges. We visited a Chateau in Belgium where the hornbeams had been trained into tall arches, giving the woodland walk a cathedral appearance.
    I guess a neglected wood is ok for wildlife, one near us is been cleared for house building!

    • The trained Hornbeams sounds wonderful Brian, the clearance for house building sounds terrible. We worry that whoever buys this wood, will have other motives rather than enjoying it, but there is a public footpath running through the hornbeam path, hopefully that counts for something.

  4. what a beautiful place and how sad to see it neglected Julie, re your comments with Matt about tree roots, I have been very surprised by the shallow rooting systems of most trees, however what I have found and am learning is that if trees suffer some windrock when they are young they send out long sideways stabling roots, on some of my trees I have been really surprised at how thick and strong these get,
    regarding the busy roads, I am surprised pedestrian subways or road bridges were not built to keep the wood connected, I suppose it is due to it being private land nothing has been done, however on a slightly brighter note, the decay and fallen trees can became a haven for wild life,
    thanks for the link to Matt’s post, I follow his blog but seem to have missed that post,
    the autumn photo is beautiful, Frances

    • Yes, I think the current guidance on staking is to give young trees the opportunity to move and develop a better root system, I had not appreciated the stabling roots, that makes sense though as they would be toppling at a high rate otherwise! A pedestrian bridge was put in at the other end of our village, its an ugly thing, I do go that way after 4, but mid day like the walk straight up our lane which after crossing the road leads straight onto the Hornbeam path.

  5. Always difficult. Do you manage and risk over manicuring with a negative effect on the wildlife or let nature takes it’s course?
    To see a great tree fall is always sad, but look upon it as part of a natural cycle – provided of course it is left to rot and not hauled away to feed a wood burning stove!

    • I love the way nature reclaims fallen trees and discovering the new life enjoying old decaying wood. It’s mostly birch that has gone over, when these 3 horn beams went over it was quite unusual. So not much for locals and their woodburners!

  6. Hornbeam are beautiful trees, especially mature trees in autumn. They even look pretty interesting toppled over. You are lucky to live so close. I visit Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge, most years to see their Hornbeam avenue just as the leaves turn colour and I am now looking up Warren Woods. Thanks.

    • I think there a couple of Warren woods, named after rabbit warrens. This one is of course very near Wrest Park in Silsoe. That’s also worth a visit too.

    • This little wood is steeped in history Charlie, as well as the trees, during the second world war ammunition was hidden here away from the nearest ex military base, there is still the remnants of the track base, used to transport it around the wood.

  7. I love that image of the avenue in autumn. We don’t have woodland like this in our area as it is all mixed with evergreens, and also mostly quite well managed… the wood industry is a major trade near here and if you don’t work full-time in the woods many people do it as a hobby and either sell the wood or use it for their own homes.

    • That sounds a very connected way to live Cathy, in our village there is only one house built from wood and thats really unusual over here, usually its lots of concrete and mass produced brick.

      • Oh, I meant for heating their own homes, but actually there are quite a few house built of wood too. I think probably everyone in this village has (and uses) an open fireplace, wood burning stove or similar and many people have wooden pellets heating too (like us).

  8. Beautiful photos. I’m not familiar with Hornbeams, so I looked them up. There is a native Hornbeam to the US, native to Missouri. That must be a beautiful walk.

    • Thanks Clare, I hope so too, there is a publlc right of way through the middle, I hope that counts for something, although elsewhere in our village the PRW has been re-routed to accommodate a farmer.

  9. You live in a magical place- I want to jump into that photo and run through the path of leaves! We lost many trees about 5 years ago as a “strong wind” not quite a tornado:-( took out all our old trees and left one standing in between all our lots. It seems so naked when trees fall or are destroyed.The history of these gardens. My parents live next to “old stage coach” road that lead to Chicago before the days of cars. It is a hiking trail and I can’t imagine anyone taking a carriage up it since it is so hilly and BUMPY:-)
    Hope they don’t lose that path-it is truly magical:-)

    • Oh Robbie, that must have been a very sad sight, have any more been planted? The hiking trail sounds wonderful, what a lovely place to live nearby.

      • No, they had them all removed( after the storm) and no one has put new trees in at all, but I have:-) I put a red bud in on my small lot and many fruit dwarf trees. I don’t have enough to put more large trees, but if I could -I would! Trees are so important. People just like their wall to wall carpet:-(

      • I guess you mean the monoculture of grass, its pretty much the same over here and the sale of lawn feed is big business. We have some great initiatives over here though such as the Woodland Trust which encourage more folk to plant trees. The fruit trees sound good, we have 3 apples and a pear but want to put in a couple more next year.

  10. Woodland management is always a tricky one. People get upset when trees are cut down, even if they were planted for felling, others don’t like it when everything is left to grow wild even though fallen trees are good for wildlife. I’d be a bit miffed though if the trees fell across the path and weren’t cleared (though it does stop motorbikes whizzing through!). Love the photos.

    • Anne you are so right about motorbikes, worse in the winter when the ground gets churned up. The dog walkers are carving new paths around the fallen trees!

  11. What a beautiful sight to behold, Julie! Hornbeam and beech are among my favourite trees with their delicate, fresh foliage and picturesque habitus. Our avenue in Ireland was lined with ancient hornbeam trees but when the forestry felled the conifers in the adjacent state owned plantation the hornbeam were exposed to the elements and fell one by one. It was heart-breaking. We tried to pull them up straight with our jeep but to no avail. It’s just so sad to see the lack of respect.

  12. That looks like a lovely wood, even if not carefully maintained. Fallen trees contribute a great deal to the ecology of a forest, providing food and shelter to many animals.

    • We really enjoy walking through there Donna, It was also our route to the children’s school for a year when they were smaller, so always a happy memory place.

  13. So beautiful! I have a small hornbeam in my garden that’s been pruned to fit in with several other trees. It’s growing too close to the other trees but it’s so pretty, we’ve kept it. :o)

  14. Beautiful. Isn’t it werid to see just how small tree root systems can be? Not at all like the images we are given in schoolbooks.

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