Beech trees do not start flowering and producing nuts until they are mature then every five years or so they will produce a crop of “mast” which carpets the ground.
For the Bristol European Green Capital 2015 arts fringe it was decided to record the sound of beech mast falling from a tree on The Downs. Unfortunately flawed logic selected a tree on the grounds that it had a bumper crop of mast in 2014!
Beech nuts can be ground for flour but the skin of the nuts (inside the spiky husks) contains tannins which are bitter and act as a digestive inhibitor. Perhaps this is another food source best left for the squirrels and wild food enthusiasts.