Forestry England’s Wildlife-spotting Walks And Autumn Half Term Adventures
Venturing out for an autumn walk is a real treat for all the family. Enjoy the rich golden colours, kicking through crisp leaves and the sights, sounds and scents of a season of change. As you have fun exploring your favourite forest or woodland, keep your eyes and ears open for wildlife and the signs that animals are preparing for the autumn and winter.
The summer was a challenging one for wildlife with drought, heat and wildfire all putting forests, woodlands and wildlife under pressure.
Andrew Stringer, Head of Ecology for Forestry England, explains one way this has affected our autumn season;
“Nuts and berries are a vital food source at this time of year for many woodland animals, including dormice, hedgehogs, pine martens and many different birds. Normally the hedgerows and trees would be laden. But there are some signs that the scorching temperatures and prolonged dry weather has had an effect, with some fruits ripening earlier and not as plentiful.
“We support wildlife in the nation’s forests by creating habitats for a wide range of plants and animals to flourish. These important connected spaces will give much loved and lesser-known wildlife the best chance to not only survive but thrive in the changing climate conditions we are experiencing.
“Autumn is a very dynamic time for wildlife so keep your eyes and ears open for some of the wonderful shows nature offers. They include deer rutting – locking antlers in a fight for dominance, the swirling displays of starlings in a ‘murmuration’ at dusk, and the flitting of jays above the trees with a beak full of acorns ready to bury as a winter food store.”
You can follow the changing colours of autumn across the nation’s forests by checking out Forestry England’s countrywide map – a window on the beautiful reds, russets and golds spreading across forests and woodlands.
Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
Soak up the landscape at England’s only mountain forest, the perfect place for half-term adventure. Little ones will love exploring the Wildplay and Superworm trails – and with walking, running and biking trails all waiting to be explored there’s something for the whole family.
Top tip: You don’t have to walk far to enjoy stunning views from Whinlatter. Get out on the trails and soak up stunning Lake District views across Bassenthwaite and to Grisedale Pike.