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Autumn arrives early at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

Don't miss out on the beautiful colours as autumn comes early this year.

Visitors are being encouraged to get out now and see the glorious autumn colours as they have arrived early this year, according to the Forestry Commission's Westonbirt Arboretum Director Simon Toomer.

"Autumn is a magical time of year and one of the best times to go for a day out in the woods. But this year we have been noticing that the leaves are already changing and autumn colours are arriving earlier than usual by nearly three weeks."

Simon added; "Westonbirt Arboretum's famous Japanese maples usually colour during mid to late October but are already starting to change now." 

"There are many reasons why this is happening. The over-riding reason is day length but a number of other climatic factors such as a dry spring make a big difference. Due to this year's dry spring the land was left extremely dry and we are seeing the delayed affects of this through drought stress. Obviously this can vary across England but I understand that areas of the Midlands are also already starting to see colour as well."

To celebrate this special time of year, Forestry Commission England has named its top ten places to experience the sensory delights of autumn.
From the 'electric light bulb' yellow of autumn leaves at Westonbirt to the amazing view from the Tree Top Way at Salcey Forest, we have something for everyone this autumn.  Our best spots include:

1.    Westonbirt Arboretum
2.    Friston Forest in East Sussex
3.    Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent
4.    The Wye Valley in the Forest of Dean
5.    Salcey Forest, near Northampton
6.    Maulden Woods in Bedfordshire
7.    Grizedale Forest, North West England
8.    Castle Neroche near Taunton, Somerset
9.    Bolderwood, New Forest
10.    Mendip sites

This year, members of the public can also follow how quickly our woodlands are changing colour and help us keep this up to date. Using our interactive online autumn colour map it's easy to find the best colour near you, as each wood is rated from green to golden. As the leaves change colour visitors can leave comments and rate their local woodland.

Simon concluded; "Trees adapt really well to their environment and this early leaf colouring is one way that trees can protect themselves against drought. This shouldn't have a long-term damaging effect to them. It will be interesting to see when the autumn colours appear next year!"

Why don't you add your autumn photos to our facebook page or send a gorgeous autumn e-card to your friends and family?  Check our new autumn website pages at

Explore Gloucestershire
19 September 2011

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