Long hot summer means that autumn has come early and could be shorter

Long hot summer means that autumn has come early and could be shorter

Experts at Forestry Commission England have reported leaves turning a rainbow of colour despite it being early September.

autumn leaves

The onset of autumn is controlled by temperature and day length, and with the days getting colder and shorter, it seems like autumn arrived as soon as the kids went back to school.  

Trees such as cherries, maples and sweet gums are among those that have already started to show hits of autumn colour at Forestry Commission England’s Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest.

Dan Luscombe, Collections Manager, Forestry Commission England says:

“The record equalling summer has left the soil dry; this along with the dropping temperatures has meant the many of trees have already started to change at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest.

“We still expect a stunning display at Bedgebury because of the late summer rains. However the autumn display may be shorter than normal due to the unusually hot and dry weather conditions we experienced this summer.

“Autumn’s displays are certainly affected by the weather; trees need a healthy balance of sunlight and rain to produce sugars, which create the colours in the leaves.”


The long hot summer has also had an effect on trees fruit and berries, with an abundance of fruits and seeds seen on hawthorn, rowan and scab apples. You can also see lots of cones on the conifers. This is great news for the wildlife that live in the nation’s woodlands as it will mean they can stock up before the harsher winter months.

Dan Luscombe, Collections Manager adds:

“It’s a very tricky task predicting when autumn will be at its best. Judging by what we have seen so far this year, I predict the riot of colour will come early with the crescendo coming towards the end of September into early October.”

“Visitors to Bedgebury will still be treated to a firework display of colour from the wide range of tree species. Across England’s forests visitors can expect a spectacular autumn show, lots of forest fruits, and you might event get to spot foraging wildlife.”

To help you feel good this autumn, Forestry Commission England have developed a downloadable activity pack which contains lots of fun activity sheets for families to enjoy including; some ideas for sensory activities from Mind, top Forest Bathing tips and introductory Forest Bathing activities aimed at both children and adults.  For more information please visit www.forestryengland.uk/autumn 

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Notes to editor

  1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestryengland.uk/england

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission http://www.forestry.gov.uk

  1. The Forestry Commission Discovery Pass gives free parking for the year for your local Forestry Commission Woodland, plus a range of other great discounts. Further information can be found at https://www.forestryengland.uk/membership
  2. Mind - We’re Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. www.mind.org.uk

Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.

Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am - 6pm, Monday – Friday)

Media Contact:

Rebecca Ulewicz

Media Relations Officer, Forestry Commission

Rebecca.ulewicz@forestry.gsi.gov.uk / 0300 067 4107