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Colour sweeps over North East forests

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Trail through autumn woodland

Experts are predicting that the North East will be awash with colour over the next few weeks.

The Forestry Commission say autumn colours are ahead of schedule with rangers in Kielder reporting that birch has turned yellow, sycamore russet red and beech and ash are also on the turn.

According to the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum Director, Simon Toomer, Autumn has come in early in many parts of England due to a dry spring producing delayed drought stress in trees. And although the region has not been as dry as further south, the spectacular hues suggest a vintage year.

“The last few days have brought on a real Autumnal feel in the North Tyne,”

said Kielder Ranger Malte Iden. 

“Horse chestnuts got things underway weeks back, but now other species are joining in producing a riot of shades. It’s a terrific sight even for veteran lumberjacks.”

Nature lovers can follow the changing colours using an interactive autumn colour map at and also add photos to the Forestry Commission’s Facebook page.

Top four viewing Autumn colours viewing spots in the North East include:

  • Kielder Water & Forest Park, where many of the trees around Kielder Castle are well into their seasonal transformation.
  • Chopwell Wood, near High Spen, Gateshead, which is partly an ancient wood dating back centuries.
  • Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, where the scenic woodland drive is dappled in the colours of beech and birch.
  • Holystone Wood, near Rothbury, an ancient oak wood, with waymarked walks, and spectacular rustic scenery.

Note to Editor

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. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038