Nymans woods are a glorious sight in autumn. Trees of many colours show a muted tapestry of coppers and yellows with contrasting patches of green from the evergreens.
Immerse yourself in the tranquillity and beauty of a woodland walk, refreshing for body and soul. Get a snapshot of the kaleidoscope of colour across the woodland from the formal garden which looks down onto the woodland; most trees show their best autumn colour in full sunlight, so those of the high canopy are most impressive.
Variety of trees
A closer look reveals the yellow birch, copper beech, pink wild service tree, red guilder rose and rust oak, punctuated by scarlet berries of rowan, holly and black elderberries.
Among the thick carpet of leaves, fungi are a colourful addition to the scene and a mild, damp autumn is ideal for spotting fungi.
They come in all sorts of fantastic shapes and sizes designed to best disperse their spores. At Nymans you can spot:
- Classic toadstools
- Brackets of fungi high up on trees
- Cups that shoot spores out like bullets from microscopic guns
- Ink caps that turn into black ink which is washed away by rain
- Puff balls that release spores like a smoke signal when hit by rain drops
Autumn is a time for feasting and there is more activity among mammals at this time of year than there is in the spring. Fattening up for the long winter months, fungi soon becomes food for insect larvae, slugs, snails and small mammals that nibble their edges while deer eat them whole.
Trees provide an abundance of nuts, fruit and seeds. A good way to see what wildlife you've got in the woods is to look at the nibbled nuts you find discarded on the woodland floor. Dormice gnaw neat and smooth round holes whereas voles take off the narrow end; wood mice chew a roughole through the nut which is surrounded by scratches in the side, hawfinches split them in two and and shatered pieces of nut show woodpeckers, magpies or squirrels have been at work.
Other good signs of wildlife in autumn:
- Birds shed worn feathers and grow new ones, so now's the time to look for them on the ground.
- Deer come into rut aand rub their antlers on young trees fraying the bark. You my even hear their calls.
- Well worn paths through the undergrowth show where deer or badgers pas regularly.