September 5th, 2018
Autumn is one of the best times to witness nature’s magic across the regions as our finest deciduous forests turn from deep greens to riots of rich golds, oranges and reds.
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold”
In his sonnet #73 (That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold) William Shakespeare perfectly sums up the Autumnal scenes in woodlands all over the country. The lush, plump green leaves of summer are replaced by the typical autumnal colours of deep reds, burnt oranges and vivid golds before the leaves disappear altogether. Autumn is the final colourful salute in nature’s calendar before the long, dreary and barren winter months set in.
Decidious forests are the best places to witness this seasonal spectacle because deciduous trees and shrubs will lose their leaves seasonally, rather than evergreen trees whose leaves appear green all year round. The leaves of deciduous trees are sensitive to the cold, so when the temperature begins to drop at the end of summer the chlorophyll chemical that gives leaves their vivid green colour slowly starts to die off, and tougher chemicals like carotene will push through, which gives the leaves the glorious Autumnal shades that are so familiar. Shortly after changing colour, the leaves will fall away from the tree, ready for new growth in the spring.
Thousands of years ago, much of the country would have been covered in thick deciduous woodland, but as the population has grown and urban living has spread out across rural landscapes, ancient forests have seen a sharp decline as they were felled to make way for towns and villages. Today though, deciduous trees that are still common in Britain are oak, birch, beech, blackthorn, elder, hazel, field maple and elm. Deciduous trees are usually thought of as those with flat and wide leaves, however some conifers that shed needles are also deciduous, like the larch conifer for example.
Some of the best forests in Snowdonia include:
- Beddgelert Forest – situated in the heart of Snowdonia close to the pretty village of Beddgelert, the forest here is a beautiful place to witness the changing of the seasons.
- Maentwrog Forest Nature Reserve – situated just to the east of the Oakeley Arms, and within walking distance are the beautiful woodlands of Maentwrog Forest. You can find walk details for a stroll through this forest in the WALKS section of our blog (click here)
- Coed y Brenin – Literally translating into English as the King’s Forest, this beautiful spot certainly lives up to its regal name. It’s known for mountain biking tracks but there are also lots of walking routes for you to explore and discover. A truly beautiful spot – about 20 minutes drive from the Oakeley Arms.
- Coed Aber Artro, Llanbedr – situated in a tiny coastal village not far from Harlech, these beautiful woodlands are often tranquil and quiet so are an ideal forest bathing spot. The Nature Reserve at Coed Llety Walter is also close by.
- Llyn Mair, Maentwrog – also very close to the Oakeley Arms, this beautiful area is home not only to a lovely lake but also acres of wild woodland that were once part of the famed Oakeley estate. Follow the numerous footpaths through the woods and around the lake to truly connect with nature and the beautiful trees you’ll find there.
- The Gwyllt at Portmeirion – the gorgeously wild landscape that surrounds the nearby Italianate village of Portmeirion is absolutely stunning. Home to a huge array of stunning native, and non-native, plants and trees, it’s easy to lose yourself and find your balance in this beautiful woodlands. Explore the woodland from the village for a myriad of footpaths and trails through the trees.