Autumn is a magical time of year and a fantastic time to visit some of the Forestry Commission’s woods and forests.
Leaves that start to change colour first include some of Britain’s native species such as common spindle, dog wood and wild cherry.
Other native favourites for autumn colour include ash, English oak, sweet chestnut, beech, hawthorn, hornbeam and small-leaved lime trees.
In forests and arboretums where a greater variety of exotic trees can be seen, stars of the autumn show include reds oaks, full moon maples and Persian ironwood. Japanese maples, beech, oak and field maples will change later.
Visitors might even get to spot wildlife foraging for fruits and seeds as our forests’ birds and animals prepare for winter.
More information on events and ideas for your autumn visit is below.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, situated in the heart of the Cotswolds, is internationally renowned for the fiery autumnal colour of its tree collection. The arboretum is home to the UK’s national collection of Japanese maples; a must-see display of vibrant oranges and reds.
The National Pinetum at Bedgebury lies at the heart of Kent’s High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While the Pinetum is world renowned for its conifer collection, at this time of year it is ablaze with autumn colour. A walk down Dallimore Valley passes the liquid amber, tulip trees, ginkos, oaks, black birch and recently-planted nyssas, all of which have been chosen for their spectacular autumn colour. Around Marshal’s Lake, the dawn redwoods and swamp cypresses, despite being conifers, all take on various shades of burnt orange and foxy red before shedding their needles. The spindle and maples are already turning a vivid pink.
Take delight in the breathtaking views of Friston Forest and the Cuckmere Valley as the beech tree leaves start to turn from green to a dazzling blend of yellow and bronze. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of the South Downs National Park, Friston has many walks and trails for mountain bikers and is well worth a visit on a clear and sunny autumn day.
Watch the forest change colour from the fantastic viewpoint at Symonds Yat. Will you see any Perigrine Falcons or perhaps the wild boar that roam the nearby woods? Symonds Yat is run in partnership with the RSPB and Forest Holidays recently opened a new cabin site if you want to make the most of the season and stay a little longer.
Explore the amazing Tree Top Way and watch the trees change colour from above. A great place to see autumn-flying butterflies and dragonflies and home to many ancient oak trees hidden throughout the wood.
Another beautiful woodland with gentle slopes and a spectacular wildflower meadow. Over twenty different species of tree makes for a lovely range of autumn colours. Maulden Woods is home to a variety of wildlife that includes adders, dormice and badgers.
The variety of trees in Grizedale Forest makes autumn one of the most beautiful times to visit. Try the short Ridding Wood trail for lovely views down the valley or hike to the top of Carron Crag to look across the whole forest with its glorious mix of autumn colours.
Great Wood is beautiful at all times of the year and is particularly breathtaking during the autumn months. The mixed woodland allows visitors to see a wide range of colours during autumn and is well worth a visit. Enjoy exploring on the 2 mile waymarked Red Walk.
Head along the Ornamental Drive to experience the changing colours through ancient woodland. Watch the deer from the viewing platform or follow waymarked trails. Or why not take part in one of our autumn activities?
Keep an eye out for the golden hues of the native oak trees, from mid to late October.
For more information you can go to www.forestry.gov.uk