Scientific name Fagus sylvatica – Hedera helix woodland
Common name Beech – Ivy  woodland
Community code WL2D


WL2D: Fagus sylvatica – Hedera helix woodland  WL2D: Fagus sylvatica – Hedera helix woodland  WL2D map: Fagus sylvatica – Hedera helix woodland

Download full pdf synopsis: WL2D



This is a high forest community dominated by Fagus sylvatica and Fraxinus excelsior. Acer pseudoplatanus is frequently present and occasionally Quercus robur may be found. In the understorey, Crataegus monogyna typically occurs but provides sparse cover. Ilex aquifolium and Corylus avellana may also persist beneath the closed canopy. The only field layer constants are Hedera helix and Rubus fruticosus agg., although Dryopteris dilatata and Lonicera periclymenum are frequent. Amongst the deep and extensive beech litter, forbs are usually scanty, with Arum maculatum, Viola riviniana/reichenbachiana, Geum urbanum, Circaea lutetiana and Geranium robertianum each being only occasional. Spring visitors to these stands may, however, encounter lush displays of Hyacinthoides non-scripta. The bryophyte layer is typically rather weak, comprising Kindbergia praelonga, Eurhynchium striatum, Thamnobryum alopecurum and Thuidium tamariscinum.



This is a fairly base-rich woodland community primarily found on well-drained mineral soils. It occurs on flat or sloping ground, usually in the lowland landscape. Soils are quite fertile. This community is particularly associated with old demesnes, urban areas and parklands.



No sub-communities have been described for this community.


Similar communities

Fagus sylvatica is more abundant here than in any of the other communities in group WL2. Where abundant Fagus is encountered on more acidic soils, stands may be better categorised within group WL1, as WL1A if it occurs with Quercus robur and WL1B or WL1C if it occurs with Quercus petraea.


Conservation value

This is on average a rather species-poor woodland community with a limited bryophyte flora. As these stands are typically dominated by Fagus sylvatica, a non-native species, they have less conservation value than native woodlands.



The main threats to these woodlands include woodland clearance and increased dominance of non-native species.  They may be grazed by livestock so overgrazing can be an issue. Undergrazing may also occur, however, resulting in dense thickets of bramble that reduce field layer diversity.