Britons are turning into a nation of ‘leaf peepers’, according to new research commissioned by the National Trust. And, with signs looking positive for a good year for autumn colour, the conservation charity is urging people to get outside to enjoy the season.
With the first signs of autumn gradually starting to sweep across the country, results from a YouGov poll found that nearly a third (30 per cent) of adults chose seeing autumn colour as their favourite aspect of autumn, followed by spending time in nature – running, walking or cycling (13 per cent) and the weather – cold crisp days, Indian summer, or stormy days (12 per cent).
Enjoying autumn colour also came ahead of the build up to Christmas, hygge, autumn cooking, clothing or television, bonfire night and Halloween.
Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of adults said they take notice of how trees change throughout the year, with over a third (37 per cent) saying they take considerable notice.
Findings also revealed that over a quarter of adults (28 per cent) say they have noticed trees more now compared to before the first lockdown.
However, just under a quarter of Brits (22 per cent) voted for autumn as their favourite season, with it finishing third behind summer and spring (32 per cent and 26 per cent) respectively – with winter coming last at nine per cent.
But, autumn hit the top spot with the youngest group of adults questioned (18-24 year olds), and was their joint favourite season (tied with summer at 29 per cent).
To make the most of Britons’ love of spending time outdoors and the love of trees and autumn colour, the National Trust is asking people to get outside this autumn to not only enjoy autumn colour, but to also help raise vital funds to meet its tree planting ambitions, to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030 to help tackle the climate crisis.
Celia Richardson, Director of Communications and Audience at the conservation charity said:
The Trust’s autumn virtual challenge – Move for trees – invites people to get active and cover 50km (31 miles) throughout the month of October. Every £5 raised will plant and establish one new sapling which could remove 1 tonne of CO2 from the air over its lifetime, to help people and nature thrive for generations to come.
National Trust predictions for this year’s autumn colour
Despite some signs of early autumn colour and leaf fall in early September – with much of the country experiencing an Indian summer, this could be a great year for autumn colour, according to experts.
Pamela Smith, National Gardens and Parks Specialist at the conservation charity says:
Currently the butter yellows of lime trees are the most noticeable in terms of autumn colour, but there is potential for strong, vibrant red autumn colours to still come through.
Commenting on autumn berries, Pam concludes: “Whilst the leaves certainly provide the show there are some unexpected autumn colours too. Berries people may come across in gardens include the bright pink and turquoise berries of Clerodendrum, or the felt-tip purple berries of Callicarpa are the jewels in the autumn leaf crown.
For more information on the National Trust’s autumn virtual challenge and to find out how to get involved, see: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/move-for-trees