Further along the trail you will see a large mature willow, the gnarled bark indicating its advanced age. Young trees have smooth bark, but as they grow the outer layers begin to stretch and crack, creating patterns somewhat unique to each species. Beech tree bark is stretched tight, giving them a smooth appearance, ash trees begin to form diamond shapes in their trunk as they get older and conifers, like the Scots pine, grow so quickly that their bark crack and splits, often flaking off in long thin strips.
Fun fact: Hawthorn trees are traditionally considered to be the meeting place of the fairies, the aes sídhe (pronounced “ace she”). Even the least superstitious farmers would hesitate to cut a fairy tree in their field and so they can often be seen standing alone across the countryside.