COMMON BEECH (Fagus sylvatica)
Common Beechis a large, deciduous tree, native to southern England and South Wales. It also thrives throughout central and western Europe. It usually grows on drier, free-draining soils, such as chalk, limestone and light loams. Beech woodland is shady and is characterised by a dense carpet of fallen leaves and mast husks, which prevent most woodland plants from growing. Only specialist shade tolerant plants can survive beneath a Beech canopy. [Woodland Trust]
Copper Beech is a common variant with its red/copper leaves.
Beech wood is an excellent firewood, easily split and burning for many hours with bright but calm flames. Chips of beech wood are used in the brewing of Budweiser beer as a fining agent. Beech logs are burned to dry the malts used in some German smoked beers, giving the beers their typical flavour. Beech is also used to smoke Westphalian ham, various sausages, and some cheeses. Some drums are made from Beech, which has a tone between those of Maple and Birch, the two most popular drum woods. [Wikipedia]