Autumn is truly here now, and leaves are turning colour and falling. This is a great time of year for walks through the woods, enjoying the colours, collecting leaves, and maybe even doing some nature art.  Whether you are inspired to enjoy the colours, collect leaves, perhaps do some land art (eg see the land artist James Blunt whose work is pictured above), or dig out the paint set or camera to capture the view, its an inspiring time.

During lockdowns, people really appreciated the fact that time in nature can be very restorative, whether its spent walking, sitting, gardening or doing more vigorous exercise. Noticing the beauty in nature is considered one of the 5 pathways to connecting to nature, so important for our health and wellbeing.

Last October, I spent more time than usual noticing fungi. The autumn is a great time to see a range of mushrooms. I saw smaller Candle Snuff fungus, which look a little bit like bits of wax that have dripped from a large candle.  Bracket fungi grow in lobes on the side of tree trunks, and have some great names such as “Chicken of the Woods” and Dryad’s Saddle. Smaller fungi which grow along sticks include Crowded Parchment, Hairy Curtain Crust, and Turkey Tail. And then, of course, there are the traditional toadstools, with names such as Ink Cap, Death Cap, Panther Cap….and in Hitchwood, the beautifully named Amethyst Deceiver. I’m no expert, but there are now quite a few apps which you can download on your phone and will identify plants, animals, fungi and insects if you can capture them on your phone’s camera. I use the Seek app, but others are also available. I found being able to identify and name them made them more memorable, and I loved the language of the names. I’m sure someone should write a murder mystery called “The Amethyst Deceiver”.

If you are interested in spending a day enjoying some nature art and craft, fresh air, and maybe a boost to your wellbeing, why not come along to Art in the Woods, which will take place in Hitch Wood, on Sunday October 3rd. It’s a great afternoon, where you are encouraged to get creative with nature, and Emily’s tea shop is on hand selling hot drinks and great snacks.


Frances Harris