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Stop 3 & Stop 10 on Trail 1 Winter silhouette of Beech
The Beech is one of our largest and most beautiful forest trees, growing to a height of one hundred feet in as many years and continuing to grow in girth for many years afterwards. The tall massive erect trunk and enormous branches have a smooth blue - grey bark. The leaves appear in April and are then emerald green edged with fine white downy hairs. The dark green colour persists until October when it turns to vivid russet – brown before falling .
Sometimes the shrivelled leaves will remain on the tree throughout the winter until they are pushed off by the newly – developing leaves in the Spring. These majestic trees often retain their leaves long after they have turned from green to brown, and beech hedges are therefore also quite popular. Beech trees can reach a spread of 30 metres and are usually rather taller than their spread A beech is at least forty years old before it bears flowers. They are brownish – purple in colour with long ,golden – tipped stamens. The fruit is a three – sided brown nut, known as mast".
In some European countries the oil from beechnuts is used as a substitute for butter. In former times pigs were herded into beech woods to feed on the nuts. The timber is pale brown in colour, hard and strong and used in the framework of motor – cars and vans, parquet flooring and in furniture making.