Experts predict an impressive year for autumn colour!

Great news for autumn lovers, experts from Forestry England are predicting a fantastic autumn, with an impressive display of vibrant autumn colours that will start now and continue right through to mid-November.

For spectacular autumn colour, trees need a healthy balance of sunlight and rain to produce sugars, which create the colours in the leaves.

Many of us were left feeling soggy at the start of the summer and data from the Met Office confirms that England experienced a spell of very wet weather in mid-June, with some parts of the UK receiving 2.5 times the monthly average rainfall.

However, rain twinned with the sunshine that we experienced for much of July is a promising recipe for a spectacular show of seasonal colour in the nation’s woodlands this autumn. 

There is also great news for our forest wildlife, with experts predicting a bumper year for fruit and nuts.

Andrew Smith, Forestry England’s director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire explains:

“The fruit and nut blossoms managed to escape the frost in early spring and the rain in June has helped the fruits to swell. July’s sunshine and warm weather helped them to continue to grow which means we should see a great year for fruit and nuts. 

“The same weather conditions are ideal for producing sugar in leaves which is further reassurance that it will be a brilliant year for autumn colour!”

To ensure that we have fantastic autumn colour for years to come, this September, tree experts from Forestry England will visit Japan to collect seeds from the wild as part of ongoing conservation work.

Daniel Luscombe, Forestry England’s Collections Manager, Bedegbury, The National Pinetum and Forest explains:

“We will be visiting Japan in early autumn collecting seeds from native Japanese trees with a focus on the conifers whilst working with various botanic gardens and forestry departments in the country.

“This is so we can keep our great looking trees, resilient to climate change, well into the future. 

“Several of the Japanese species we will be collecting are at risk of going extinct and many of the maples we are hoping to collect will either be new to Westonbirt Arboretum and Bedgebury Pinetum or will be providing the next generation of trees for visitors to enjoy, say in a 100 years’ time.

“The autumn colour over in Japan will be stunning and seeing how trees grow together in the wild gives us ideas and inspiration on how to use them to shape our landscapes.”

During the season, Forestry England is encouraging visitors to woods and forests to document their autumn discoveries by posting images of autumnal colour on social media channels using the hashtag #autumnleafwatch.

With more than 1,500 forests and woods in England and over half of the population living within six miles of their nearest forest, there are ample opportunities to get out and enjoy the beautiful wash of colour and the crunch of dry foliage underfoot over the autumn months.

For more information on how to experience autumn in a forest near you visit www.forestryengland.uk/autumn

Notes to editor

1.Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission. 

2.Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is home to the National Conifer Collection. The 128-hectare (320-acre) site is recognised as one of the most significant collections of conifer trees and plants on one site anywhere in the world. There are more than 12,000 trees, including threatened and historically important specimens. The Bedgebury team travel the world to collect seeds from rare species natural habitats for propagation and conservation, supported by the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum. Bedgebury is a key partner in the Global Trees Campaign run by Fauna & Flora International and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Bedgebury makes a major contribution to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

More than 2000 tree and shrub seedlings are grown at Bedgebury every year, some of which are planted on site. Surplus seeds and plants are distributed to other botanic gardens and safe sites across the UK and Europe, and seeds are stored for long term conservation in the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place. Bedgebury works to conserve tree species identified in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 

The pinetum is open all year offering a beautiful setting for peaceful walks and picnics whether on a frosty morning or a sunny afternoon. Seasonal trails explore the history and significance of the collection. Bedgebury Forest covers around 800 hectares (2000 acres) and enables people of all ages to enjoy activities such as adventure play, walking, cycling, mountain-biking, running, horse riding or a Go Ape high-ropes adventure trail. Events include arts, theatre and family activities inspired by the landscape and wildlife of the National Pinetum plus Forest Live concerts in summer.

Visitors can learn more about Bedgebury’s conservation work at the Visitor Centre. The Bedgebury cafe provides a range of hot and cold refreshments. There is also a cycle hire shop including adapted cycles and a bike wash area, an information office including Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum and a classroom/community room, toilets and showers.
forestryengland.uk/bedgebury  |  01580 879820  |  bedgebury@forestryengland.uk  Facebook: @BedgeburyPinetum  Twitter @BedgeburyP

3.Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by Forestry England and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to five national collections, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains nearly 15,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 500,000 a year, with a membership of over 32,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt  

Media Contacts: 
Becky Ulewicz
Media Relations Officer
Forestry England

t: 0300 067 4107
e: Rebecca.ulewicz@forestryengland.uk