Beacon Hill Wood is a conspicuous and locally well-known block of woodland on the south side of the road which runs, along the Mendip ridge, from Wells to Frome. The wood extends across a narrow plateau and down the steep side of Beacon Hill. From the wood a green lane continues south for a further 600 metres following the line of the Roman Fosse Way. Several Bronze Age burial mounds, various banks, old quarries and other archaeological features are present and a substantial pond abuts the northern roadside edge.
The Forestry Commission planted beech and Scots pine in the mid 1950’s, with one area of sycamore; the ground being first deep ploughed to form substantial furrows. An area of mature beech in the centre of the upper plateau was left undisturbed and here some of the best preserved barrows are found. Birch occurs in the main canopy throughout the wood, along with examples of oak and rowan. Ash, hazel, field maple and crab apple can also be found, mainly round the boundaries where hawthorn, blackthorn and English elm are also present. In spring some areas are carpeted with native bluebells, particularly under the sycamore. Recent thinning of the canopy has encouraged the regeneration of natural heathland vegetation.
It is the long term intention to create natural broadleaf woodland with diverse age and vegetation reflecting the native species of the area.
Four sections of a November 2002 report by C.J. Smith are available here in .pdf format.
“Ecological Survey” , 8 pages with three illustrations 1840kb.
“Recommendations for management” and “Summary of Archaelogical and historic interest” , 8 pages with three illustrations 1832kb.
“Appendix II, Flora and Fauna” and Part 1 of “Appendix III, Photographs“, 8 pages with eleven illustrations 1366kb.
Part 2 of “Appendix III, Photographs” , 7 pages with twenty nine illustrations 1692kb.