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I have been visiting these beech trees at Lightwood in Buxton for more than 50 years. They were probably planted there more than a century ago. When it can make its own choices, the species is a south-dwelling, sun-loving inhabitant of limestone and chalk (the beeches at Selborne were one of Gilbert White's favourite neighbours in the Hanger woods) Yet it adapts magnificently to the places we put it even when it's the water-gushing gritstone slopes at Flint Clough, where it rots down and rises up in new saplings every year. It is hard to think of that spot without its fungi-smothered fallen beech trunks and the cold fire of the young trees in their autumn blaze.
© Mark Cocker 2019