Trees take on cloak of colour

EXPERTS are predicting the region will be awash with colour over the next few weekds as autumn arrives in the forests.

The Forestry Commission says autumn colours are ahead of schedule.

According to Simon Toomer, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum director, autumn’s early appearance in many areas is due to the dry spring producing delayed drought stress in trees.

He said that although the North East has not been as dry as further south, the spectacular hues suggest a vintage year.

Rangers in Kielder report that birch has turned yellow, sycamore russet red and beech and ash are also on the turn.

“The last few days have brought on a real autumnal feel,” said Kielder ranger Malte Iden.

“Horse chestnuts got things underway weeks back, but now other species are joining in producing a riot of shades. It’s a terrific sight even for veteran lumberjacks.’

The best spots in the North East to grab a glimpse of autumn include Holystone Wood, near Rothbury, which boasts an ancient oak wood now with a kaleidoscope of hues.

Nature lovers can follow the changing season using an interactive map at www.forestry.gov.uk/autumn and add photographs to the Forestry Commission’s facebook page.