Beech trees, Harlestone Firs, Northamptonshire, England
© Andrew Baskott/Alam
Info. Beech trees
These ancient beech trees line one of the well-trodden paths at Harlestone Firs, a woodland area in Northamptonshire, England. The beech, sometimes known as the queen of trees in the United Kingdom (where oak is the king), can soar up to 40 metres in height and live for over 400 years. Beech woodland creates plenty of shade in the summer months, thanks to its dense canopy of leaves, which makes it difficult for other plants to grow beneath them on the forest floor. But they do provide a home for butterflies, moths, mice, voles and squirrels, while the gnarled trunks are favoured by birds and insects. You can find beech trees across much of Europe from as far north as Sweden all the way down to northern Sicily.