Located in South Buckinghamshire and around 25 miles from London, Burnham Beeches was acquired by the City of London in 1880, in response to a threatened purchase by residential developers. It was for sale as “land suitable for the erection of superior residences”. There has probably been woodland on the site since the retreat of the last ice age, but today’s landscape was created by people.
One of the three Scheduled Ancient Monuments on the site shows that the area was inhabited as early as the Iron Age. Today Burnham Beeches is characterised by a diverse mixture of ancient woodland, wood pasture, coppice, ponds and streams, grassland, mire and heathland. The sites most prominent features are the veteran Beech and Oak pollarded trees which provide a stable habitat for many rare and endangered deadwood species.
Where to go in Burnham Beeches
There are three self-guided trails for visitors to explore in the Beeches:
The Sensory Trail is the shortest at just under one mile long, taking under an hour and is suitable for families with children and people who are less mobile. It incorporates five tactile sculptures, some accessible seating as well as an audio guide (see the disabled accesspage).
The Historical Trail is around five miles long and takes about 2.5 hours, this is probably better suited for more seasoned walkers.
The Geology trail was devised in 2011 by Graham Hickman of the Bucks Earth Heritage Group. It is a 3km route that takes about 1.5 hours to complete and looks at the various geological features that can be found at Burnham Beeches.
Burnham Beeches Diary 2017 - Guide and Events Diary