Fireplace

I am having a new mixed fuel fire installed in my living room. I was planning to build a nice fire surround and mantle to a design that my wife came up with. Before I start, however, I'd appreciate any pointers regarding the selection of timber. It will obviously have to be able to withstand considerable radiated heat. My initial plan was to use beech... but I have also been advised to use oak or obeche.
Can anyone offer any advice?
Thanks... Andy, West Sussex, UK
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