Burnham Beeches

Burnham Beeches is a nature conservation area of woodland and pasture. Run by the City of London, special sites for wildlife and species to look out for are listed on their website. There are a number of trails to help you explore Burnham Beeches such as the Historical Trail which gives information on the woodland trees and pasture. If you are interested in the Ancient trees, the Ancient Tree Forum have created a Veteran Tree trail.

A tree receiving some support, Burnham Beeches. Credit: R. Tessier
  • Natural Nature Reserve and an area of Conservation
  • An area of: Special Scientific Interest (ASSI)
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 
  • Registered charity
  • 374.6 hectares
  • Near Burnham, Buckinghamshire
  • Run by the City of London Corporation

Visiting Burnham Beeches: A Wildlife Guide

by Val Young

The site is a popular place for green therapy and blowing off some steam for the young ones. 

In our 20+ years of visiting, we have seen many changes to improve the bio-diversity, with programmes managing the woodland of ancient Druids Oak and Pollard trees that are hundreds of years old, encouraging the support of over 60 species of wild plants and animals (I personally think there are way more than that). 

The area down the middle has fresh running water into two ponds. They alone support the water/ wetland birds such as Coots and Moorhens that pick their way through and along the lily pads.

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin ducks and Mallard ducks swim in the clearer areas where you can see a variety of water beetles and if you’re lucky, a water snake

Ducks, Burnham Beeches. Credit: R. Tessier

Dragon flies spend their time underwater as a larva until it emerges on a still, warm day on a water reed

Beware of the Wood ants in August, where they make the undergrowth literally move. They are large enough to see, but don’t hang around as they do bite! 

If you are tracking in the summer, look out for the squirrels, listen for woodpeckers. The Marsh Boardwalk over the protected habitat is where you are more likely to see an amphibious creature. Salamanders and Newts may be seen, they are shy, but you may be lucky!  

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

As you head uphill, it plateaus off to an area where there are British Whites. These are white cows, a breed that is about 400 years old. 

British White cow, Burnham Beeches. Credit: R. Tessier

If you’re tracking in the autumn, the forest is getting ready to make homes for the hibernating creatures and bringing forth unusual types of fungi

Fungus on a tree. Credit: V. Young

Look on dead wood and find some bigger examples on the tough bark of bigger trees. They are delicate and small like skinny mushrooms, or big like a stack of fluffy pancakes cut in half on the side of a tree. But don’t eat them, some are toxic. 

So bring your wellies, whatever time of year it is and get up close or take in the amazing space by just looking up. 

Happy Trails! 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s