The nights are approaching and there is a chill in the air, but research by a conservation charity suggests that Brits are increasingly finding solace in what can be a difficult time of year in the cheer of autumn colour.
About a third of people questioned said enjoying the flow of gold, red, violet and orange that accompanies fall is their favorite thing of the season, before looking forward to Bonfire Night, the TV schedule, or even Christmas.
The National Trust said Britons were turning to “leaf peepers” – a pastime usually associated with the US and Canada – and hoped there would be a good season on the way as long as it wasn’t too windy.
According to the research, conducted by YouGov, nearly three-quarters of people said they noticed how trees had changed during the year, with more than a quarter saying they had noticed more trees since the beginning of the pandemic.
“People are still saying they are closer to nature than they were before the pandemic started and hopefully it will stay here,” said Celia Richardson, director of communications and public at the fund. “Connecting with nature is good for our health and well-being and makes people more likely to act to protect the natural world.”
Pamela Smith, the trust’s national parks and gardens specialist, said she hopes it will be a good year for foliage lovers, especially in the North.
“With higher than average levels of sunshine in parts of northern England, most of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland during the summer, we could see great autumn, particularly in these areas.
“The color of autumn is not determined solely by what the actual weather is doing now,” she said. Weather patterns throughout the year are also fundamental – particularly levels of sunlight, but also levels of precipitation.
“For the next two weeks, we need more sunny days, more rain and cooler temperatures – but staying above freezing – without storms, to help enhance what could be a really good year for fall color.”
It’s probably going to be a good season for the berries, too, Smith said. In the wild, cypress trees — known as mountain ash or rowan — are full of berries this year.
“This year is also a good year for our hawthorn flowers. Its fruits, known as hawthorns, feature our bushes with small rose fruit. The blackthorn-cellulose fruits are well worth researching. These sharp, dark-purple fruits are a staple food for foraging for making slaw gins.”