Au­tumn colour

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - WILD NOVEMBER -

Thanks to two best­selling books – The Hid­den Life of Trees by forester Peter Wohlleben, and Richard Pow­ers’ Pulitzer­win­ning eco-novel The Over­story – the idea of trees as com­plex, sen­tient be­ings has firmly taken root. We no longer think it out­landish that they send chem­i­cal mes­sages to one an­other. But this no­tion isn’t new. Trees talk in Enid Bly­ton’s ev­er­green clas­sic The Far­away Tree, pub­lished al­most 80 years ago, and many much older sto­ries cel­e­brate their power.

Au­tumn is a great time to com­mune with trees – when tem­per­a­tures fall, the sea­sonal trans­for­ma­tion of our de­cid­u­ous wood­lands can be dra­matic. Tra­di­tion­ally, the op­ti­mum pe­riod for leaf-peep­ing was Oc­to­ber to early Novem­ber, with dis­plays of gold and bronze be­gin­ning in the north then mov­ing south. Cli­mate change means the spec­ta­cle is now best en­joyed through­out Novem­ber and some­times well into De­cem­ber. Beech trees, pic­tured here, are among the first to turn.

Leaf-peep­ing is good for us. In a Forestry Eng­land study, 97 per cent of peo­ple sur­veyed said that look­ing at au­tumn colours lifts the mood. So what are you wait­ing for? If you have a young fam­ily, visit the Wood­land Trust web­site, where you can even down­load ‘au­tumn colour bingo’ to take with you.

FIND OUT MORE Dis­cover au­tumn woods at forestryen­g­­tumn

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