What better time of year than autumn to go for a walk in our Commonwealth Woods. Fill your lungs with fresh air, admire the enchanting display of colours (red, green, ochre and gold) and listen quietly as wildlife prepares for winter, or join us on one of our lantern walks and experience our woods in after dark.
After an early spring and summer, our woods began showing the signs of autumn in August. They are now bustling with pre-winter activity, as the wildlife and trees prepare for the winter months. There is a lot to see and do during this season.
Forage: Juicy blackberries can found growing on thorny shrubs called brambles along the edge of our paths. These provide a lovely snack as you walk, or take some home with you to turn into jam or blackberry whisky.
Conkers: Grown on Horse Chestnut these strong little seeds can be found in spiky cases (shells) littered throughout our woods. Take some of the discarded seeds home with you for a game or two of “Conkers”.
Foliage: As autumn arrives, our trees start to prepare themselves for winter. There is not enough light in the short days for photosynthesis and they begin to shut down their food making factories (their leaves). The first sign of this is the changing colour as the chlorophyll starts to fade away. It is then that we see the orange and yellow colours – these colours have been in the leaf all summer, but the green of the chlorophyll covered them up. Some leaves turn red, this colour is made from food (glucose) trapped in the leaves. Brown colours are also made in autumn, this colour is made from wastes left in the leaves.
An autumn walk in Garscadden Commonwealth Woods, located between Drumchapel and Bearsden. Garscadden looks fantastic at this time of year with the mix of oak, ash, birch, rowan, fruit trees and hawthorn trees showing an impressive autumn display.
Family Woodland Walk Activity: Commonwealth Woods Autumn Scavenger Hunt
How many of these autumn treasures can you find and collect on your woodland walk?
• A tough or shiny evergreen leaf that has been shed
• The sound of a nut falling to the ground
• 2 different types of winged seed
• A lobed leaf (like an oak leaf)
• An acorn in its cup
• Fallen pine needles
• A parachute seed
• A shiny conker
• A leaf with teeth
• A pine cone (thick woody scales or bracts)
• A fir cone (thinner more flexible scales or bracts)
• The sound of the wind in the tree tops
• A fallen twig covered in moss or lichen
• 10 leaves each with a different autumn colour or shade
• A prickly sweet chestnut shell, opened to show the furry lining
• The sound of an animal rustling in the dead leaves or undergrowth
There are loads of great activities for you and your family to enjoy in the woods this summer; we recommend that you visit www.naturedetectives.org.uk for more ideas and resources.
Did you know?
There are only two days of the year when you can stand an egg on its end, the autumn and spring equinox. To do this you will need an egg. Place the egg on a hard, flat surface on its largest point. Carefully pull your hands away and it should remain upright (try it… autumn equinox takes place 23.09.14)