Native beech (Fagus sylvatica) woods occur on neutral to acidic soils and reach their western UK limit at Castell Coch – on the western boundary of Cardiff. The reference state for beech woodland is defined by a mixed age structure and the presence of successful regeneration under canopy gaps. However, as a consequence of intensive deer grazing, the classic image of a UK beech wood shows mature single-aged stands lacking an understorey, regeneration and field layer.
The beechwoods in south-east Wales are less intensively deer-grazed than those in England, and some stands of beech on south-facing slopes in the Castell Coch area of Cardiff are good examples of the reference state.
Beech is considered likely to benefit from climate change, with a predicted spread to the north and west.