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Picture perfect: photography favourites come into their own in autumn

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As autumn arrives, The National Arboretum at Westonbirt’s most photographed tree, a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), is tantalising visitors with its first signs of colour.

As the season progresses, this Japanese maple and thousands of other trees at the Forestry Commission managed arboretum will attract scores of photographers aiming to capture form, structure and colour.

Woodlands are a magnet for enthusiastic photographers during autumn, so here are the Forestry Commission’s top tips on how to get the most out of autumn colour.

  • Autumn provides a real opportunity for photographers, as the trees in brightly coloured autumnal leaf provide the most vivid of images. A great time to start a new hobby!
  • Use photography to gain insight into different types of woodlands - from native to conifer plantations. Great fun and a great way to learn.
  • In more formal gardens, such as Westonbirt Arboretum, think about how deliberately the landscape has been designed. Photography can reveal an intentional pace and a story to the planting.
  • Look out for contrasts in colours and textures which provide many a striking image - the deep red of a Japanese maple with a backdrop of dense, dark yew or laurel, or ferns nestling against tree bark.
  • Seek out intricacy and aim to come away with a wide variety of images, from close-ups of maple leaves, to dramatic landscapes of golden oaks and beeches.

Why not share your autumn photos by posting them on the Forestry Commission Woods and Forests Facebook page, or the Forestry Commission’s Flickr group? You can find your local Forestry Commission woodland this autumn by visiting

With a number of fantastic forest sites displaying the sensory delights of autumn, Forestry Commission England has named its top ten places to visit. From the ‘electric light bulb’ yellow of autumn leaves at Westonbirt to the amazing view from the Tree Top Way at Salcey Forest, we have something for everyone this autumn. The best leaf-peeping spots include:

  1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire
  2. Friston Forest in East Sussex
  3. Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent
  4. The Wye Valley in the Forest of Dean
  5. Salcey Forest, near Northampton
  6. Maulden Woods in Bedfordshire
  7. Grizedale Forest, the Lake District
  8. Castle Neroche near Taunton, Somerset
  9. Bolderwood, New Forest
  10. Leigh Woods, near Bristol

This year, members of the public can also follow how quickly our woodlands are changing colour and help us keep this up to date. Using the Forestry Commission’s interactive online autumn colour map it’s easy to find the best colour near you, as each wood is rated from green to golden.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible 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
  2. Leaf peeping is an informal term, commonly used in the United States, for people who travel to view and photograph the fall foliage in areas where foliage changes colours, particularly New England.

Media contact:
Rebecca Turner  0117 906 6030