Burnham Beeches ancient woodlands to be dedicated to The Queen for jubilee

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Visitors urged to only visit Burnham Beeches if you live locally

Burnham Beeches has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 ancient woodlands to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

The Queen’s Green Canopy recently announced the network of 70 ancient woodlands and 70 ancient trees across the UK which will form part of the Ancient Canopy to celebrate the Queen's 70 years of service.

The initiative was launched by The Prince of Wales, who is patron of The Queen’s Green Canopy.

The Ancient Canopy is an opportunity to protect and appreciate ancient woodlands and trees.

Burnham Beeches is a square mile of ancient woodland, wood pasture, coppice, ponds and streams, grassland, mire and heathland.

The site’s most prominent features are the veteran Beech and Oak pollarded trees – a method of pruning that keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow. 

These provide a stable habitat for many rare and endangered deadwood species. 

It has been a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1951, was declared a National Nature Reserve in 1993 and designated as a Special Area of Conservation in 2005. 

There has probably been woodland on the site since the retreat of the last ice age but today’s landscape was created by people and their livestock.

Burnham Beeches is ‘an exceptional example’ of an ancient wooded common that was of importance to local people for their wood and grazing land. 

At one time there were probably nearly 3,000 pollarded trees.

Today, management aims to perpetuate the 500-year-old trees while creating a new generation of young pollards, now over 1,000 in total. 

Caroline Haines, chair of the City of London Corporation’s open spaces committee, said:

“The Queen’s Green Canopy is a chance to highlight the heritage of these wonderful ancient trees, whilst teaching about the importance of their conservation and how we must continue to work hard preserving them.

 “These woodlands hold memories and stories for so many, and we want them to be there in years to come for future generations to enjoy.”

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