Rise of the Fall brings out the leaf tourists

Foliage fans use latest web technology to track progress of a vintage autumn - and then head for the hills
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The Independent Online

The Forestry Commission has launched a website offering an online autumn map, which, with daily updates, allows users to fine-tune visits according to their colour taste.

Not to be outdone is Autumnwatch, run by the BBC and the Woodland Trust. Amassing data from 19,000 volunteers across the country, it will build up an extraordinarily detailed picture of bird migration, oak-leaf colour change and ripening fruit.

"We're using phenology, the study of the timing of natural events in relation to climate," says the trust's Nick Collinson. "There are phenological records in Britain going back to the 1700s, but most relate to spring."

The National Trust and VisitBritain are also promoting leaf-led sightseeing.


...starring in a park near you

BEECH: a shallow-rooted tree, it is one of the first to change colour. Its leaves become golden yellow around the end of September.

OAK: a hardwood like the beech, oaks begin turning in early October, with breathtaking full tint two to three weeks later.

BIRCH: displays an eye-catching yellow in early autumn as carotene, a latent pigment, comes to the fore.

HORNBEAM: its spiky, serrated leaves become a spectacular russet around mid-autumn.

Jonathan Thompson