Immerse yourself in autumn's richness and colour across the Surrey Hills

Autumn is nature's last magnificent hurrah of the year and it's a treat for all the senses. The glorious ambers, reds and golds of trees create a marvellous backdrop to this most mellow of seasons. But there are also other treats - the smell of damp woodland and bonfires; the sharp-sweet taste of fruits - blackberries, damsons, apples; the sounds - owls, deer, migrating geese; the crispness of leaves at your feet, the prickliness of conkers. That slight nip in the air. Now is the time to immerse yourself in this most sensuous of seasons in our special places.

Tree colour

Glorious autumn colours on Abinger Common
Abinger trees
Glorious autumn colours on Abinger Common

The hills and woods of our special places abound with trees that show their full glory in autumn. Beeches, oaks and silver birch are all great show-offs when it comes to the autumn months. But also look our for some of the smaller shrubs - rowan trees, hawthorn and dogwood - are all excellent performers.  

Berries and fruits

Wild berries are food for our birds
Hawthorn berries in the winter
Wild berries are food for our birds

This is the time of year for fruits to ripen. Look out along the headgerows for blackberries and also sloes on blackthorn bushes. Wash them thoroughly before using them in traditional recies such as   CRUMBLE and SLOE GIN.

Hawthorns berries (or haws) are rich in antioxidants and sought out by winter visitor birds such as redwings and waxwings.  Rowan berries are also a precious food source for birds as they feed up before winter.

Nuts

Oaks of course are famous for producing acorns, ground up in the Second World War as a cheap coffee substitute. More palatable today are hazelnuts if you can get there before the squirrels!  Sweet chestnuts were introduced to Britain by the Romans for eating and can be found in the woods. They are smaller than the well known horse chestnut conkers, appearing as a set of four seeds within the casing.   Differentiation?

Fungi

A view of a Yew tree on Burford Spur on a bright summer's day, part of the Box Hill estate, Surrey

Climb Box Hill

Box Hill in Surrey is a perfect place to take the children if they love nature. Use our guide to help you identify more than 30 species of butterfly.

Belted Galloway cattle on Headley Heath

Cattle news and dog walking tips on Headley

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Belted Galloway cattle have returned to the heath. The grazing cattle help us maintain the unique habitats for our special wildlife.

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