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Experts Hope for Spectacular Autumn Colors in UK

The National Trust, which cares for more than 10 million trees across the UK, says we could be set for a spectacular Fall in Britain, but that the next two weeks will have a big impact

Published on October 6, 2020

Autumn at Stourhead Gardens, Wiltshire Autumn at Stourhead Gardens, Wiltshire. Photo by Tamsin Holmes. Courtesy National Trust Images.

If you're missing the incredible Fall colors from the States, the UK's conservation charity The National Trust is predicting that Britain could also be set for a vibrant autumn season.

According to the Trust, the "duration and intensity of autumn colour relies on lots of sunshine for trees to bask in prior to the season’s arrival." The Trust go on to explain that "Warm summers with lots of sunshine, help to increase the leaf sugar content which, in turn, results in a range of pigments – from reds and oranges, to greens, golds and browns – as leaves turn."

The Trust also highlights weather patterns in the first weeks of October as key indicators for how vibrant the autumn colors may be. They note that "weather patterns will need to remain favourable through the first half of October for a memorable display, with enough sunshine during the day, cold conditions at night and no intense storms or rainfall." Although the impact of Storm Alex saw much of the UK experience heavy rainfall last week, the next few weeks could remain sunny, albeit with showers.

"Autumn in the northern hemisphere is one of the natural world’s great spectacles", says the National Trust's Plant Specialist, Simon Toomer. "It starts in the far northern deciduous forests and progresses southwards to the warm temperate regions over about a 10 week period. Our northern gardens and woodlands are therefore a week or two ahead of the most southerly".

Toomer goes on to say that "North America and Japan are the best-known global hotspots for autumn colour and we are lucky that many of our gardens and parks have many trees from these areas. This variety of species ensures a long and very colourful display and this year, with favourable weather conditions, the show should be spectacular."

Highlighting how the autumn colors could be particularly important in 2020, Toomer says that “With the evenings already drawing in and with the potential of further localised lockdowns due to the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to notice nature and to drink in the colourful landscapes that we can see at this time of year. Together with the particular dusky, heavy scent of autumn and the sounds of crisp leaves crunching under foot, will all serve to help our wellbeing through the next few colder, darker months."

To see the best of the UK's autumn colors, search for your local parks, open spaces, arboretums and estates. You can find many on your local council websites, or for more nearby sights, check out the National Trust and English Heritage.

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