As the leaves change color, the nights draw in, and the temperature drops, it may be hard to find the motivation to go outside.
We’ve compiled six of our favorite things to see and do in the great outdoors this autumn to help cure your post-summer blues.
Blackberries are among the few berries, seeds, and nuts that can be picked in autumn in the UK, and even the most inexperienced forager can do it. There isn’t really anything you can confuse blackberries with so it’s one of the safest berries to start with. For more experienced foragers, other tasty treats to look for are crab apples, wild damsons, sloes and sweet chestnuts.
Produced by the horse chestnut tree, conkers are the very essence of autumn in the UK. Split open the spiky, green case of the horse chestnut fruit to find the shiny, brown conker we all know and love. Not to be confused with sweet chestnuts, these are not to be roasted on an open fire, but they’re great for playing the classic children’s game, or keeping insects out of your home.
Although present all year round in our woodlands, most of the time they are hidden away beneath the surface. During autumn, however, fungi appear all over the place; on dead logs, on the ground, and on the trunks of trees. Some common fungi in autumn include shaggy ink cap, giant puffball, and fly agaric – don’t worry if you don’t know what these look like, it’s still fun to see how many varieties you can spot. Remember that some poisonous fungi can be easily mistaken for edible fungi, so don’t be tempted to eat them unless you’re an experienced forager.
Wildlife is often more noticeable in autumn as they busy themselves making nests or gathering food before winter sets in, and with fewer leaves on the trees they can be easier to spot too. Squirrels and jays will be fetching acorns in the trees, and hedgehogs and dormice will be trying to fatten themselves up ready for hibernation. Also, as the temperature drops and morning dew appears, you can see the beauty of spider webs glistening early in the morning.
If you are not into foraging or don’t fancy a game of conkers, the woods is still an intriguing and fascinating place to visit at this time of year just for its sheer beauty, when the natural world treats us to a last burst of vibrant color before the onset of winter. Also, collecting leaves can be a fun activity if you have children. Tracing, pressing, painting, or making a collage is a great way to make autumn art with your little ones. Or, even simpler pleasures, we all remember how satisfying it was to kick a big pile of crisp leaves!
Autumn is the perfect time to take a peaceful morning walk and see the stunning morning mist in the woods, so if you don’t mind getting up early, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular natural sight.
If you feel inspired, you can find your nearest woodland using The Woodland Trust website. Foraging for food items is very enjoyable, but can also be very dangerous. Ensure that you seek the advice of professionals before eating foraged foods.