The Hornbeam seedlings are sprouting like mustard and cress on the Forest floor at the moment…
Richard Law commented in his blog recently that he’d visited Epping Forest and that Hornbeam was an uncommon tree in Yorkshire. Well not round here it ain’t. In fact there are remnants of Hornbeam coppice all through Essex and Hertfordshire and possibly in a ring round London. Being a very good firewood (burns long, hot and bright if well seasoned) it was used to fuel London’s bread ovens.
I do use it occasionally but it must be worked green or you discover why it’s called Hornbeam.
In America apparently it’s called musclewood which is a very apt name as the trunk and branches often look as though there are muscles rippling beneath the bark.
Most people confuse it with Beech but it has serrated leaves and never grows as tall.