That great historian of woodland, Oliver Rackham, suggested that some coppiced ash stools “may be among the oldest living things in Britain (at least a thousand years)”. John Evelyn, in his Sylva of 1662, was enthusiastic about the ash: “So useful and profitable is this tree (next to the oak) that every prudent lord of a manor, should employ one acre of ground, to every 20 acres of other land.” Now we know.