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Colour yourself happy this autumn half-term in England’s National Woods and Forests

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In a recent survey carried out by Forestry Commission England a staggering 96% of people said that beautiful autumn colours improve their mood and to celebrate nature’s most colourful season Forestry Commission England has created a ‘Colour me Happy’ trail to help you discover the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of autumn, along with lots of fun activities for families this half-term.

Throughout the holidays, the ‘Colour me Happy’ trail will be located in 17 Forestry Commission sites across England, allowing children and families to discover and explore forests during this vibrant time.
Rachel Giles, Learning Manager, explains:

“Autumn is such a special time of the year, and the forest creates a wealth of opportunities to explore with all our senses – from tasting juicy blackberries, to smelling the damp earth, and enjoying the amazing array of colours of the trees.

“We hope that these trails will really get people excited about being in the forest this autumn, and that they will also learn something about the trees and wildlife that they find during their visit.”

To get your family outside this autumn with a big colourful bang there are also lots of great events happening across the country!

Highlights include your chance to be part of the biggest drawing festival in the world at Grizedale forest's  big draw in the heart of the Lake District, a visit to Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent to run with wolves in a unique and exciting theatrical experience, and a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire where you can bask in the glory of this collection of trees whilst getting crafty with autumn leaves. Colourful fun includes autumn sun catchers, leaf bugs and wax paper leaf bunting!  

There is also the chance to be part of our wonderful woven woodland. Hang your piece of forest art within the canvas to help us create a vibrant community artwork and share the growing masterpiece with us on Facebook using #ColourMeHappy.

And if that’s not enough, for even more fun in the forest you can download our free activity pack - jam-packed with a variety of activities guaranteed to keep the children coloured happy this autumn.

This year, you can also join in the #autumnleafwatch phenomena at our sites by sharing photos of autumnal colours on Facebook, Instagram and twitter pages. Throughout October the favourite pictures will be shared across our social media. As autumn draws to a close the public will be asked to vote for their favourite autumn image. The winner will win year’s Forest Discovery Pass, £100 Go Ape vouchers and £100 photography vouchers.

For our top 10 autumn walks and further information about events and exploring England’s Woods and Forests this autumn, visit

Notes to editors
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.

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise     England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.
2. 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

3. The ‘Colour me Happy’ trail is located at:
• Abbots Wood, East Sussex
• Alice Holt, Surrey
• Cardinham, Cornwall
• Chambers Farm Wood, Lincolnshire
• Forest of Dean, Symonds Yat Rock, Gloucestershire
• Great Wood, Somerset
• Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
• Haldon Forest, Devon
• Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
• Jeskyns, Kent
• Kielder Forest, Northumberland
• Leigh Woods, Bristol
• New Forest, Blackwater Arboretum, Hampshire
• Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
• Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
• Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
• Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

4. Grizedale forests big draw is being held on the 23, 24, 25 October 2016. All ages and all levels of drawing are welcome to this free drop in event.

5. At Bedgebury Pinetum, theatre company Burn the Curtain will be performing their exciting outdoor show – The Company of Wolves – on the Thursday 27th, Friday 28th and Saturday 29th of October.
Starting from the Bedgebury Visitor Centre at 7.00 (for a 7.30 start), the event is suitable for children aged 8 plus, if accompanied by an adult. The performance lasts for approximately 2.5 hours and includes an interval with free hot chocolate!
Tickets cost £18 per adult (aged 18 plus), and £15 per child (ages 8 to 17 years) and are available from the Forestry Commission Box Office (from Friday 9th September).

6. Westonbirt Arboretum colourful craft events run daily from Monday 24 October – Friday 28 October. Activities include:
• Daily craft: Leaf Crowns
• Monday: Natural dyeing tie dye fabric
• Tuesday: Leaf hammering
• Wednesday: Autumn sun catchers
• Thursday: Leaf bugs
• Friday: Wax paper leaf bunting