I have changed my mind so many times trying to identify this tree. It's on our land in Gloucestershire a reasonably boggy area, not far from a river. Close by are Silver Birch, Copper Beech, Smooth Arizonia Cypress, Swamp Cypress and Chinese Weeping Willow. Most of the trees are mature and many planted for ornamental purposes.
I keep returning to Beech but the bark doesn't make sense; its very knarled and ornate. I've also thought it could be a Bird Cherry or a Goat Willow but none of those make sense either. I've now run out of books to help me!
Hello Pema ... I am not sure if this will be any help but when I saw the leaves I immediately thought they looked like sallow leaves (Goat Willow). I then went on google images to check out the bark and it looks very similar. I am almost certain it is a Sallow, possibly quite old hence the nice bark.
I'm sure it is goat willow, Salix caprea.
The bark takes on different textures over time, eventually attaining the rough ridged appearance you show. That can be a little surprising if you are familiar with the smoother bark of younger goat willows, or with its diamond-shaped marks in middle age. It is similar to how it can be surprising to see old silver birches with dark and rough bark rather than the better-known smooth white bark of youth (photo a little way on on the right here - http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/photo/bark.html).
Look out for the flowers/catkins in Jan-March, followed by fluffy white seed heads.
Wortmaggot - We must stop meeting like this! - Mike
lol Mike! I know! This site is so addictive isn't it? :-)
Many thanks too. I have taken another look and see that the older barks are indeed rather splendd. It was this that was foxing me although the leaves looked right. Need to dig a little deeper next time. Thanks again
Also (for any next times, with other trees) have a rummage around under the tree in question, looking for fruit/seeds/leaves, assuming there are none on the tree at the time.