THE green leaves of the summer have given way to vivid oranges and rich reds as autumn reaches its peak at Westonbirt Aboretum, pictured.
This year’s colours could be more intense than normal, according to experts, due to the unusually long, hot summer.
Warm, dry conditions stretched across September and part of October this year, contributing to one of the warmest Septembers on record.
The heat, alongside reasonable rainfall, has seen a bumper harvest for many crops across the country, including pumpkins.
It has also meant a bumper year for many types of shrubs and trees. And the Westonbirt National Arboretum, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, has more than its fair share of those.
The Forestry Commission park has 15,000 labelled trees (around 2,500 different types of tree) from Britain, China, North America, Japan, Chile and other temperate climates.
Many of the leaves have already turned colour and this year’s spectacle has begun drawing the crowds. The Forestry Commission’s director at Westonbirt, Simon Toomer, said: “The main influence on leaf colour change is day length; once the days shorten, low temperatures can increase intensity of leaf colour, but temperature won’t be the main factor in the initial colour change.
“Our forests are very diverse and the different conditions contribute to the rich variety of tree species and colour in the forests.”