The true value of materials: Why Ash?

We have selected a number of pieces for the exhibtion that showcase the benefits of ash as a locally sourced sustainable material. Why use ash? In terms of sustainability there are number of reasons why ash is a good choice. As David Saunders Manager of Woodnet explained to us at the Summer Workshop, as a material ash:” is light, elastic, flexible and incredibly strong. A hardwood that is fast growing.The quicker a tree grows the stronger it is”. 

It has a distinctive open crowned light foliage, it is late come into leaf, early to drop, a short growing season, that lets light through onto the forest floor, which has benefits in terms of biodiversity”  These benefits are  summarised by the Royal Forestry Society:  “Ash woodland has a rich ground flora of dogs mercury, bluebells and ramsons. Often it is accompanied by a hazel understorey. The alkaline bark of ash supports numerous epiphytic lichens and bryophytes and also attracts snails. Its leaves provide food for many moth species including the barred-toothed striped, the coronet, the brick, the centre-barred sallow and the privet hawkmoth. Birds such as the bullfinch eat ash seeds.Upland mixed ash woodlands are a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and form one of the richest habitats for wildlife in the uplands. They support many rare woodland flowers such as dark red helleborine, Jacob’s ladder, autumn crocus, lady’s slipper orchid and threatened butterflies such a the high brown fritillary, the dingy skipper and the grayling.”

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