Autumn walks at Sherwood Forest
The nights are drawing in, the toadstools are popping up, and the first frost has bitten; autumn is well and truly upon us! Now’s the season to fascinate the senses and carry out your own Autumnwatch at Sherwood Forest.
So, if you go down to the woods this November, what might you find?
All the acorns
At this time of year, the forest floor is a carpet of acorns. All shapes, sizes and colours, these are the fruits of the might oak tree, and are only produced when by trees that are at least 40 years old. Acorns are an iconic part of our history and folklore; carrying one was said to bring you good luck, and it’s rumoured that their caps are donned as hats by woodland fairies.
Whether they’re green and shiny, brown and streaked, or hosting the lumpy form of a gall, there’s always something oddly satisfying and comforting about holding one in your hand.
During autumn, the deluge of decaying matter & moisture creates the perfect conditions for a huge and mysterious variety of mushrooms, toadstools, slimes and moulds. Peer into the shadows of trees, or nosey around fallen logs and stumps, and you’re bound to see some of these decomposers in their clusters and clumps.
Sherwood Forest is a fungal wonderland, with over 200 different types found here. You don’t need to know their names to appreciate their diversity of colour, shape, smell and weirdness!
Sherwood’s a great place to take in the spectacular range of autumn colour. Summer greens transform into a palette of fiery reds, sunshine yellows, ember oranges and chestnut browns.
Shiny acorns, bunches of berries and mossy logs add amazing textures to this visual feast, stimulating the senses along with the scents of decaying leaf litter.
Have a go at creating your own autumn colour wheel to reflect the spectrum you see on your walk!
Wildlife getting organised
As we might start to think about Christmas, the forest’s wildlife will be carrying out their own preparations for the winter. Jays, a colourful member of the crow family, become infatuated with acorns, hoarding as many as they can by burying them across the woodland. Inevitably, they’ll forget about some of their precious stashes, which will germinate into an oak sapling. You never know, one of these could be the next Major Oak!
Plenty of other woodland animals will be stocking up for winter too; sit and watch our feeding stations and platforms, and you could see woodpeckers, nuthatches and marsh tits, as well as plenty of plump squirrels!
Autumn’s always a fantastic time to explore a woodland and witness the shifting seasons in a place like Sherwood Forest. Grab a free trail guide in our Visitor Centre or, if you’re here with little autumn adventurers, hire one of our explorer backpacks for your walk around the forest!
£3, or free for RSPB members.