Autumn colours set to be even more spectacular this year

Lovely autumn colours at Felbrigg Hall.

This autumn is set to be a colourful one, according to the National Trust - Credit: Ron Graham

Good news if you're a 'leaf peeper' - for the experts say we're heading for a colourful autumn.

The National Trust says nearly a third of people it surveyed about the seasons thought seeing leaves turning colour and falling from trees was their favourite thing about autumn.

That was followed by those who most liked getting into the outdoors, running, walking or cycling (13pc), and those whose favourite thing was the weather, including cold crisp days, warm, sunny conditions or stormy days (12pc).

Seeing autumn colour beat Bonfire Night, Halloween and the build up to Christmas, as well as the feeling of cosiness, the Danish concept of "hygge", for people's favourite thing about the season.

The trust said its findings suggested "leaf peeping", a trend which started in the US and Canada for people travelling to view and photograph colourful autumn foliage, was taking hold in the UK.

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Experts at the organisation said that despite mixed weather over spring and summer, and some signs of early autumn colour and leaf fall in September, recent Indian summer conditions could spell a great year for autumn colour.

Pamela Smith, national gardens and parks specialist at the charity, said: "The warm, sunny days that many of us experienced in September, and rainfall in some areas of the country has helped many tree species build up additional sugars in their leaves which will soon be trapped in the leaf as it becomes cut off from the rest of the tree branch, a process known as abscission.

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"High sugar levels produce red colours known as anthocyanins.

"Over the next two weeks we do need some more sunny days, more rain and colder temperatures, but staying above freezing, with no storms, to help boost what could be a really good year for autumn colour."

The yellows of lime trees are the most noticeable autumn colour at the moment, but there is potential for vibrant reds to come through, the charity said.

The findings from the YouGov survey of 2,271 people for the National Trust also found that more than a quarter of people (28%) noticed trees more now compared to before the first pandemic lockdown.

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