A solo in deep purple.
This copper beech (Fagus purpurea) is a majestic specimen with great character and wonderful colour. It’s deep, dark purple leaves contrast dramatically with the green trees around it during the summer, and then turn to a rich purple-red shade before they fall.
About 50 years old, this copper beech stands just to the north west of The Hub on a patch of grassland near sports pitches. We’ve purposefully let the grass around this tree grow longer than the mown lawns of the sports fields, letting wild flowers flourish and providing a diverse mini-habitat for wildlife.
Despite having shallow roots, beech trees can grow to a great height - well over 20 metres - and although ours has a slightly twisted trunk, it’s achieved impressive dimensions in its half century.
Copper beech is a very popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, and is normally grown purely for its aesthetic appeal. Other varieties of European beech, however, are important for carpentry. The fine, short grain, makes the wood resistant to splitting, so it’s often used for things like chairs and staircases. In the woodlands of Britain, beech is a dominant species south of a line drawn from Suffolk to Cardigan in Wales, while north of that line, oak is dominant.