Previously we misidentified this small shrub as rhododendron – a common mistake apparently due to the similarity of the leaf shapes. We were puzzled why rhododendron was surviving on our non-acid soils.
Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) is a flowering shrub commonly found on calcareous ground under beech trees. It has bright green flowers in early spring which form black berries in autumn.
It is preferable to have spurge laurel than potentially invasive rhododendron, however spurge laurel is poisonous (to humans) and can also outcompete other vegetation.