QE Forest

QE Forest

The trees of the QE Forest are changing colour on a daily basis. The majority of these are beech trees whose leaves are turning from green to yellow and then golden. Other species like the ash and white beam have all but lost theirs.

Autumn colour is a phenomenon that transforms the green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs for a short period before they shut down for the Winter.

A leaf is green due to the presence of chlorophyll which has a vital function in capturing the suns rays and utilising their energy to manufacture food. As this process takes place the chlorophyll breaks down and is replaced masking other pigments in the leaf and maintaining the green colour.

As the season draws to a close the chlorophyll runs out leaving the orange and yellow pigments to show themselves.

Beech leaves

Beech leaves

A further red pigment is created during the late Summer, enhanced by phosphate levels in the leaves, the breakdown of the sugars manufactured by chlorophyll, bright sunlight and cold (but not freezing) temperatures. The combination of these three colours is what makes Autumn so special.

With a pretty good forecast for the half-term holiday week the timing is just right for what the Americans call ‘leaf peeping’.

The visitor centre and main facilities are open every day of the week from 10.00am through to 5.30pm. However from the 1st November closing time will move back to 4.30pm.

The gates on the Forest Drive and at the main entrance to the Butser Hill car park have been being locked at 8.00pm. When the clocks go back on the 28th this will move back to 6.00pm. Opening time in the morning will remain the same at 8.00am.

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