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Nature Trail 11

Beech tree

The beech tree, Fagus Sylvatica, known as the queen of trees, is a species that has been a part of British woodlands since the last ice age.
With its silver grey, thin bark; its high levels of beech mast (nuts); its boat shaped, hairy edged leaves, beech is an easily identified tree species. It is well suited to the free draining, limestone slopes of Mendip. It can live for as long as 350 years and older trees have lots of dead wood and holes, making them great habitat for bats, birds, insects and fungi.
Beech woods tend to be dark and well shaded, the high number of nuts and leaves that are dropped by the trees also tend to stop other plants from growing. Because of these factors, beech woods can be homes for rare, shade loving plants and a great place to search for fungi in autumn.
The name, beech, is probably derived from the use of the bark and wood for early writings and is a derivative of ‘Book’

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