Autumn in and Around Braunton

Autumn leaf

– Luke Thomas;

The shortening days and the falling of the leaves are a sure sign that autumn will soon be upon us. Autumn forshadows the coming of winter, and this has an impact on the behaviour of many of the plants and animals in the area.

Nature in and around Braunton this autumn

You’ll notice a suite of new sights with the coming of Autumn. Oaks, for example, will begin to shed their acrons in the autumn. Acorns are actually a type of nut and contain the seeds of the oak tree. They are a hugely important source food for many animals at this time of year, such as squirrels and jays. These species build up caches of food in the autumn to see them through the winter when food is more scarce. This behaviour also helps the oaks to disperse, as the squirrels and jays won’t use all the acorns they have stored in their various caches, allowing them to develop into new oak trees.

A Grey Squirrel with an acorn in it’s mouth – Martin Batt

Squirrels and jays aren’t the only animals preparing for winter. At this time of year, hedgehogs ramp up thier feeding efforts as they prepare to into hibernation. Hedgehogs hibernate from the end of December/start of January until March, and rely on stores of fat to provide them with energy during this time – hence their increased feeding activity in the autumn. Hedgehogs are active throughout the summer months, but as the nights draw in you’re more likely to see these nocturnal creatures in the autumn.

As well as animals, Autumn is also a great time to see fungi. Many species will produce their fruiting bodies at this time of year as they prefer the cooler and damper conditions. The fruiting bodies most famously take the form of mushrooms, but some species appear as other structures. Fungi, which normally resides beneath the soil, grow these structures to disperse their spores which will develop into a new fungus. You’re most likely to see fungi in woodlands such as Chapel Wood, where you can find iconic species like fly agaric toadstools.

A fly agaric toadstool

Yellow stagshorn fungus at Wistlandpound

Things to do in and around Braunton this autumn

As at other times of the year, there are plenty of events to get involved with at the Braunton Countryside Centre this autumn. We’ll be hosting a series of talks on a range of interesting subjects. Along with our talk series, we’ll continue to host some guided walks. If you want to know more about what we have going on this autumn, please see our events calender.

Autumn offers great birdwatching opportunities, as many species migrate back to the UK at this time. If you make a trip to Horsey Island at this time of year, you might see golden plover and dunlin among others. Another great local birdwatching spot is Velator pond, where you can spot a range of species – migrants and residents alike.

Golden plover at Horsey Island – Martin Batt

A male and female shoveler at Velator pond – Martin Batt

The Braunton Contemporary Craft Market will continue on Wednesday’s throughout the autumn until Christmas. With a variety of different crafts, the market provides a great opportunity to support local creators!

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a amazing autumn!

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