Autumn colours in the High Peak

Soft autumn light washes over the rolling hills in the Dark Peak

Discover the wondrous changes across Kinder, Edale and the High Peak as autumnal colour flows across the landscape. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of crisp autumn adventures and admire the wonderful wildlife that can be seen this time of year.

Nature's autumnal highlights

As we transition from summer to autumn, nature displays a beautiful and rich array of colours and presents new opportunities to see wildlife. When set off for your crisp and refreshing autumnal adventures in the High Peak, you are sure to discover wondrous wildlife moments and colours that inspire and astound. Find moments to pause and be still and admire the wide variety of fungi on the ground or wildlife preparing for the winter months.

Peaceful and reflective autumnal walks by Kinder Resovoir
Peaceful and reflective autumnal walks by Kinder Resovoir
Peaceful and reflective autumnal walks by Kinder Resovoir

Hares, hedgehogs, and hibernation

Mountain hares are one of the favourite sights in the Dark Peak, and you may be able to see them over the autumn. They will be preparing to change their camouflage for the customary white coat seen in winter. If out exploring with your four legged companion please remember to be #peakdistrictproud and keep them on a lead to keep wildlife, livestock and other visitors safe from disturbance.

A mountain hare hides in the heather
Mountain hare sat in heather
A mountain hare hides in the heather

Hedgehogs will be getting ready to hibernate, as they typically do so from November to mid-March. They will be building up their fat reserves ready for the winter. Frogs will also be preparing to hibernate, and may be seen feeding before finding suitable places for hibernation. Frog hibernation is dependent on the weather, and in milder spells during winter they have been known to emerge from hibernation. It’s not just small mammals and frogs that will be hibernating. Insects such as ladybirds will be starting to hibernate over the autumn, in crevices beneath bark. The bright butterflies of the summer months will be overwintering in places such as drystone walls.

Frogs start to hibernate, after building up reserves in autumn.
Frogs in water
Frogs start to hibernate, after building up reserves in autumn.

Changing leaves and spectacular fungi

Surely one of the most spectacular autumn sights is the oak’s changing leaves, and these magnificent trees can be found all around the Dark Peak. Many types of mushroom can also be found emerging during the autumn months, such as the birch bracket and horse’s hoof bracket fungi. The latter is also known as Tinder fungus and occurs most commonly on birch and beech trees, so-called because it looks like a horse’s hoof growing out of the tree. 

The weird and wonderful world of fungi - please don't pick it, take a photo instead
The weird and wonderful world of fungi - please don't pick it, take a photo instead
The weird and wonderful world of fungi - please don't pick it, take a photo instead

North and south – where birds are heading in autumn

Autumn is a time where many birds depart for warmer climates such as the swallow which starts to migrate south in October - look to the skies and you may see flocks flying overhead. For keen birdwatchers, there are still plenty of birds to spot across the Dark Peak, look for them where autumn fruits are growing and you will find a flurry of birds munching away.

Whooper swans can be seen on Ladybower Reservoir, where they are winter visitors. Another winter visitor is the waxwing, which feeds on rowan berries, and is often found in conifer plantations around the edge of the moors. It has a crest and yellow and red-brown in its tail feathers. The redwing is another winter visitor, and is mostly found in hedgerows and fields. It is the smallest UK thrush and can often be seen with fieldfares. The latter are also members of the thrush family and stay from October until March. Their favourite food is the hawthorn berries that emerge in early autumn.

Barn swallows lining up to fly south
Three barn swallows in a row on a barbed wire line.
Barn swallows lining up to fly south

Be #peakdistrictproud

You can help us look after the places you love by taking only photographs and leaving only footprints or pawprints. Be sure to take all litter home, keep dogs on leads to keep wildlife, farm animals and other visitors safe from disturbance and take lots of photos to create lasting memories of your adventures in the outdoors.