Autumn highlights

The fruit of the sweet chestnut is wrapped in a spiky green case

Autumn on Dover's Hill brings many changes. Everywhere you look bright splashes of colour fill the landscape. Lynches Wood seems to slip effortlessly from green to warm gold, while sweet chestnuts fall to the ground inviting you to take a closer look.

It takes about 25 years before sweet chestnuts bear fruit. The ones in Lynches Wood were planted many years ago so there's always an abundance of fruit to see in the autumn. Inside the prickly green protective cases, the seeds develop.

Sweet chestnut
Sweet chestnut
Sweet chestnut

Did you know?

The Romans made flour from sweet chestnuts.

As the leaves fall, light floods back onto the woodland floor. The forestry work that took place during the summer adds even more light, breathing new life into the wood.

Knopper gall wasp

You might spot some unusual growths on the oak trees in Lynches Wood. The tiny knopper gall wasp produces stickly knobbly red growths or 'galls' that turn brown in autumn.Inside the gall, the larvae of the wasp feeds on the host tissues.

Although they look weird, the wasp and the growths cause very little damage to the Pedunculate Oaks.

A knopper gall on a Pedunculate Oak
A knopper gall on a Pedunculate Oak
A knopper gall on a Pedunculate Oak

Feathered friends

Spotted fly catchers are a familar sight in autumn. They stop off on the hill, feeding up before their big migration.