Close to a bend in the path near St Katherine’s Gate stand two unmissable ash trees, a great starting point for a tree walk in Regent’s Park.
If you enter Regent’s Park on the eastern side, from Holborn and St Pancras, you’re likely to begin your visit in the wide open space of Cumberland Green. When John Nash planned the park in the early 19th century this area was set aside for villas and kept relatively clear of trees, but the fine houses were never built, and the space is now popular for sport, and special events including Frieze Art Fair in October.
The trees which are here stand out in the open land, and close to a bend in the path near St Katherine’s Gate stand two unmissable ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior). The one furthest from the bend is about eighty years old and now stands at around 25m. This is a European or common ash, one of our largest native deciduous trees. It’s capable of growing up to 43m high and widening to 6m across its trunk.
The ash is steeped in tradition and folklore. In Old Norse mythology, a giant ash called Yggdrasil was said to link heaven and hell, and the god, Odin, carved the first man from its wood. Odin chose well because ash is wonderful timber. Tough and springy, it’s ideal for hockey sticks, skis and axe handles.