Downs in snow (copyright Jill Parsons)

Family Activity

Welcome to the Ash Tree

How many trunks can you count growing up from the base? The base has a special name called a ‘stool’. Why do you think there might be three trunks and not one? Do you think this tree was ‘coppiced’ or cut in the past and more shoots grew up from the stool?

Walk out to where the branches stop and then look down at the ground.

Can you see any roots coming out of the soil or can you imagine the roots in the soil not very deep below where you are standing now?

Lateral roots can extend even further out than the branches above you and they won’t be more than 2 metres beneath the soil either!

Imagine what they look like down there. What colour are they? How big are they? Do they have little ‘feeder’ roots springing from them? The feeder roots are there to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

Photographs © Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project.