Kicking up the autumn leaves and hunting for conkers, stealing a kiss under an oak tree’s heavy boughs or watching the squirrels forage for their winter supplies. A stroll in the woods at this time of year is far more than just something to pass the time.
As the woodland leaves shift from their vibrant summer greenery to warm shades of russet and vivid orange, nature is putting on her best dress and treating us to an autumn colour palette that’s nothing short of spectacular.
The changing season is the perfect time to wrap up warm and explore our glorious woodlands, striding along with the dog, watching your breath form puffy clouds and crunching through the leaves as you go.
Or dig out the children’s welly boots and set them free to peek under stones in search of teeny bugs and collect the best leaves to take home and create a glorious autumn theme work of art for the fridge.
Because far from shutting down for the winter that’s ahead, right now your local woodland is in the grip of frantic activity.
If you go down to the woods…
At this time of year the woods are alive with change as preparations begin for the season ahead. Search around and you’ll find animals preparing for the cold weather, squirrels searching for food to store, others – like swallows– packing up to leave.
At ground level, fungus provides a splash of colour – now is the time to go wild mushroom hunting – and if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be richly rewarded.
Instead go armed with the Woodland Trust’s Tree ID app, and take the children on a journey of discovery as they identify trees by their bark, twigs, buds, leaves, flowers or fruit.
Or let them run loose, crisp leaves underfoot begging to be examined by curious little people whose wonder at the world around them is only matched by their boundless energy for splashing in puddles.
Far from shutting down for winter, our woodlands are living, breathing works of art all year round.
Nature’s glory revealed
Open your eyes and you’ll find no two days are the same at your local woodland.
Gorgeous golden leaves gradually turn to russet red. Some mornings are crisp and bright, on others the mist hangs low and beads of dew make the intricate lace patterns of a spider’s web sparkle in the sun.
Smell the fresh air – there’s something about a crisp autumn morning that heightens the senses – and stroll in peace and quiet, free of the stresses of the day, absorbing the best nature has to offer.
Make the most of your local wood
Our natural environment faces many threats and challenges - the UK has only 13% woodland cover, compared with an EU average of 37%.
That’s why the Woodland Trust has pledged to plant 64 million new trees by 2025 – one for every member of the population. The charity is creating areas of new native trees and woods, planting new trees and woodland close to existing wildlife-rich areas such as ancient woods or concentrations of ancient trees. This buffers them from the impacts of neighbouring land use and connects existing habitats.
The charity’s fascinating autumn discovery pack explains why it’s so important to look after our woods and trees, why they face an uncertain future and how you can help.
It’s also full of ideas and information to help you enjoy your local wood even more, with activities and ID guides to keep everyone busy long after the woodland walk is over.
Sign up now for your pack by clicking here and find out how to make the very best of our woodlands this autumn.