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24 September 2014

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Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours

Autumn Gold ...

Follow gold to Cumbria as the Forestry Commission launches a telephone hotline for 'leaf peepers' ...

Autumn colour suggestions...

Whinlatter Forest

Views from the Forest across the northern Lake District fells are dramatic and awe inspiring.  Within the Forest, larch’s and broadleaf trees change colour adding to the unique character of England's only mountain forest.

The wild valley of Ennerdale

The contrast between the golden colours of the larch's, beech and oaks along the lakeshore with the evergreen of the spruce trees is magnificent.  The heather, bracken and bilberry also add new vibrant colours to the mountains above the forest.

Lower Miterdale valley near Egremont

The oak and birch woodland in the Western Lake District are a joy to walk through.  Here you can soak up the colours of the season as the forest and fells get ready for winter.

Grizedale Forest

This area in the heart of the Lake District, takes on a new life with the changing colours of the leaves, especially in the centre of the valley surrounded by oak woodland.  The nearby fells also look superb in autumn and can be viewed from a number of high points within the Forest.

A new hotline has been launched by the Forestry Commission to help ‘leaf peepers’ in the Lake District and other parts of North West England enjoy the riot of colour that is starting to sweep the region.

Leaf peeping started on the other side of the Atlantic and is a term applied to those people who admire the changing leaf colours during Autumn. One of the characteristics of these creatures is that they are often found travelling slowly along country roads.

Foresters across Cumbria are now monitoring some of the key autumn hotspots and rating the colours.

The Forestry Commission’s Graeme Prest says: “We think that autumn in our part of ‘old’ England is every bit as good as in New England.  The North West really does strike gold at this time of year.

"The views of woods and forests as they change colour is simply spectacular"
Graeme Prest - Forestry Commission

“The views of woods and forests as they change colour is simply spectacular.  It is not surprising that there is increasing interest in leaf tourism here in Britain.  And with more trees being planted in the North West every year there are more opportunities to enjoy the swathe of autumn colours that are coming our way.”

The hotline and website will include information on woods and forests from the Lake District, through Greater Manchester and down to Cheshire.

The science bit...

Gareth Browning, from the Forestry Commission,  explains why the trees change colour during Autumn.

Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours

Leaves are the food factory of trees. The factory is powered by sunlight trapped by chlorophyll which is the pigment that gives leaves their green colour in spring and summer.

When the days grow short and night time temperatures fall, the tree realises that autumn and winter are coming.  Most trees don’t grow in autumn and winter, so there’s no need for food and the ‘food factory’ closes down.

The chlorophyll left in the leaves is not needed and starts to decompose, revealing other pigments from sugars and starches.  They’re the golds and reds that we know as autumn colours.

Further information

The Forestry Commission’s new hotline – 017687 78469 – will keep people up to date on the kaleidescope of colours that autumn brings to the North West.

Add your images to our gallery

You can add your images of Autumn colour to our gallery by sending them to Use the link at the top right of this page to see the gallery.

last updated: 14/10/05
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