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Britons turning into a nation of ‘leaf peepers’ according to new National Trust research as experts predict a ‘good’ season for autumn colour - National Trust

The vibrant autumn colours at the National Trust's Stourhead Estate (James Dobson)
The vibrant autumn colours at the National Trust's Stourhead Estate (James Dobson)

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.

Pamela Smith, National Gardens and Parks Specialist at the conservation charity says: “Autumn colour is not only determined by what the actual weather is doing now, the weather patterns throughout the year are also key – particularly levels of sunshine, but also levels of rainfall, a lack of which can cause stress for trees which is why there have been early shows of yellow or brown autumn colour and leaf-fall in parts of the country.”

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