LEAF-PEEPING, the pastime of enjoying autumn foliage brings in one billion dollars each year to New England.
But you don’t have to go stateside to rejoice in autumn’s russet hues.
The Forestry Commission says its North Yorkshire woods will soon turn gold, with the traditional riot of colour enhanced by recent night-time frosts.
Top locations to view the kaleidoscopic shades include Haygate, Crosscliff, Staindale Lake and Bickley Gate all in the 3,440 hectare Dalby Forest.
Adding to the colourful pallet are the reds of wild cherry and oak leaves and the yellows of ash, silver birch and larch needles.
Forest rangers have been keeping a careful watch on the changing scene and adding regular updates to a special website.
Simon Toomer, from the Forestry Commission’s national arboretum at Westonbirt, said:“Because of the less than glorious summer we have experienced in the UK this year, we expect to see prolonged autumn colour well into November due to the mild, damp weather conditions and no shortage of water.”
During summer, leaves are packed with green chlorophyll, which harnesses energy from sunlight to combine water and CO2 to create sugars. However, once the tree prepares for winter, the chlorophyll breaks down and other coloured chemicals - carotenoids, anthocyanins and tannins - take over, making leaves appear yellow, red and gold.