Are you an autumn leaf-peeper? Three-quarters of Britons now take a serious interest in tree colour change through the seasons

  • National Trust survey of 2,300 said 28 per cent of Brits now notice trees more 
  • Upwards trend follows a growing awareness of nature during Covid lockdown
  • Some 30 per cent chose colour of autumn leaves as favourite aspect of season 

It’s a habit which took root during lockdown and is now branching out.

Three-quarters of Britons now say they take a serious interest in the glorious colour change in our trees through the seasons – in a trend dubbed leaf-peeping.

The trend follows a growing awareness of nature during lockdown when many were restricted to walks as exercise.

The National Trust survey of 2,300 people revealed how 28 per cent notice trees more now than at the start of the pandemic. 

A total of 30 per cent chose the colour of autumn leaves as their favourite thing about the season.

Three-quarters of Britons now say they take a serious interest in the glorious colour change in our trees through the seasons – in a trend dubbed leaf-peeping. Pictured: Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

The trust has launched an autumn challenge called Move For Trees which is asking people to cover 50km this month by walking, running or other means to raise funds.

Experts at the organisation said that despite mixed weather over spring and summer, and some signs of early autumn colour and leaf fall in September, recent Indian summer conditions could spell a great year for autumn colour. 

Pamela Smith, national gardens and parks specialist at the Trust, said: ‘The warm, sunny days that many of us experienced in September, and rainfall in some areas of the country has helped many tree species build up additional sugars in their leaves which will soon be trapped in the leaf as it becomes cut off from the rest of the tree branch, a process known as abscission.

‘High sugar levels produce red colours known as anthocyanins.

‘Over the next two weeks we do need some more sunny days, more rain and colder temperatures, but staying above freezing, with no storms, to help boost what could be a really good year for autumn colour.’

The National Trust has launched an autumn challenge called Move For Trees which is asking people to cover 50km this month by walking, running or other means to raise funds. Pictured: Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

The yellows of lime trees are the most noticeable autumn colour at the moment, but there is potential for vibrant reds to come through, the charity said.

And with above average sunshine levels for parts of northern England, most of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland over the summer, those areas could be in for a fantastic autumn display, Ms Smith said.

The National Trust is urging people to get outside this autumn to enjoy the season, but also to raise funds to help it with its tree planting ambitions to establish 20 million trees by 2030 to help tackle the climate crisis.

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