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NEWS RELEASE No: 1668331 AUGUST 2017


A soggy summer suggests later and longer autumn colour, say experts at the Forestry Commission


Autumn at Westonbirt Arboretum

A dry spring followed by a soggy summer for some could mean an extended autumn display, say experts at Forestry Commission England.

Trees need a healthy balance of sunlight and rain to produce sugars, which create the colour in their leaves.

Met Office data shows we experienced a warm and dry spring, which will have slowed down their sugar production. However, the wet summer has helped trees to catch up and should result in a stunning display, even if it comes slightly later than normal.

Maple species could kick off this year’s show, with beeches and oaks giving the nation a ‘second autumn’ later into November.

Experts are hopeful that a crescendo will come around the last two weeks in October, where if you’re exploring the great outdoors, you’ll struggle not to feast your eyes on some fantastic colour.

The length of the amazing autumn display relies on heavy rains and winds being kept at bay during October.

Andrew Smith, Director at Westonbirt Arboretum said

“This spring was very dry, resulting in thirsty trees and slower sugar production. The wet summer is just what they needed and will hopefully help them turn things around to give us a superb display.

It’s a very tricky task predicting when autumn will be at its best. Judging by the weather so far this year we could expect a slightly later autumn, though you will enjoy it if you’re out and about mid to late October.”

Forestry Commission England is focusing on a ‘Feel Good Autumn’ through a new initiative encouraging people to spend time in the forest to boost their wellbeing.

You can find mindful activities and top tips, gentle walking routes, ‘Get back on your bike’ events and secret autumn spots to sit and unwind.

Autumn top ten spots

1.       Forest of Dean, Symonds Yat

2.       Grizedale Forest

3.       Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

4.       Delamere Forest

5.       Bedgebury Pinetum

6.       Hamsterley Forest

7.       Salcey Forest

8.       Wyre Forest

9.       Alice Holt Forest

10.     New Forest

www.forestry.gov.uk/autumn

Notes to editors

  1. Andrew Smith is the director of Westonbirt, the National Arboretum.
  2. 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.  http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-about-uk21 million people currently visit England's Woods and Forests each year, which are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/englandsforests
  3. Weather data supplied by the Met Office.
  4. Forestry Commission England’s top 10 autumn spots, www.forestry.gov.uk/autumn   
  5. 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 http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pass

Media contact: Emily.beaumont@forestry.gsi.gov.uk