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 forestryengland.uk/autumn