5 ways to connect with wildlife in Cheshire during Autumn

PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 October 2019

Leaves are the perfect home for a hedgehog to hibernate. Picture by Tom Marshall

Leaves are the perfect home for a hedgehog to hibernate. Picture by Tom Marshall

Tom Marshall

Rachel Bradshaw from Cheshire Wildlife Trust reveals her top five al-fresco things you should be doing this month

This fungi was capture by Les BinnsThis fungi was capture by Les Binns

The beginning of autumn always generates mixed feelings for me. As summer comes to an end and the days slowly get shorter, I know it's time to put the shorts away and grab the jumpers and woolly socks. But when autumn finally kicks in, it's one of the most beautiful times of the year and a season to be relished.

The colours, the smells, the thudding sound as conkers fall from the trees, not forgetting the crunching of the yellow and orange leaves.

Here are some of Cheshire Wildlife Trust's top five fun-filled nature activities you can do at home or in your nearest green space so you can truly embrace the season ahead!

October is the perfect time to pick a bumper crop of blackberries. Picture by Alan PriceOctober is the perfect time to pick a bumper crop of blackberries. Picture by Alan Price

1. Take an autumnal walk

Walking in autumn is one of the best times - so don't tidy those walking boots away just yet. Not only is it bursting with vibrant colours, being outdoors during the darker, chillier season is also good for your health and wellbeing. While walking in general is a great way to stay fit, it's also brilliant for boosting your feel-good hormones. Walking increases serotonin levels, which can help to prevent low mood and the traditional autumn and winter blues.

The crisp, frosty ground, the brightly painted leaves against the sunny blue skies and hills clad in velvety pink and purple heather - what could be better? If fabulous scenery and tranquil walking routes appeal to you, then autumn is the season to pull on your wellies! Also, if you're into photography, autumn is one of the best times to capture the unfiltered gorgeousness of our natural world.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Go on a fungi hunt

Fungi is everywhere in October. When conditions are cooler and wet, fungi can feed and grow on any kind of surface, not just under our feet, so you'll have no problem in spotting it. With so many different species in the UK, fungi make up an entire kingdom of their own.

As well as many delicious wild mushrooms, fungi also includes some of our most poisonous species, so it's essential you never eat any fungi you find unless you are 100% certain about their identity. In fact unless you are with an expert, it's best to leave mushrooms where you find them. Others can enjoy their beauty that way, too, and you can go home with a great photo, stomach intact.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Pine cone bird feeders

Our gardens are becoming increasingly important places for wild animals, especially birds. Think of them as your own mini nature reserve right outside your home. By providing a regular supply of food and water throughout the year, we can help birds survive through the challenging winter months, which is when they can struggle the most.

An exciting yet seasonal way to encourage the birds in your garden is by creating your very own pine cone bird feeders! The pine cones can be collected when you go for your autumnal walk, and then all you need is some suet from your local shop and a wild bird seed mix!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Hedgehogs love leaf piles

Though autumn is beautiful, once those leaves start to fall everywhere can start to feel a bit untidy. But those leaves can be perfect for wildlife, including our beloved hedgehogs who will be starting to look for a nice cosy place to hibernate for winter. If a hedgehog has had a late brood, fallen leaves are also the perfect nesting material for their hoglets. Instead of blowing the leaves away, create a neat little leaf pile in the corner of the garden, under conifers or somewhere out of the way for them.

Creating small log piles are also one of the best features for a plethora of wildlife, especially hedgehogs. They become mini insect factories, providing a year round food supply for an array of wildlife. If you do create one, share your photos with us.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Go blackberry picking

As the weather turns cooler, it's the best time to go picking those juicy fruits from the hedgerows. You can also spot all sorts of wildlife feasting on the hedgerow harvest. Blackbirds and thrushes love blackberries too and the crops of rose-hips, sloes, crab apples, elderberries and haws (hawthorn berries) provide autumn food for mice, voles, hedgehogs, squirrels as well as many kinds of birds. So make sure to leave some for the wildlife to enjoy.

You may prick your fingers but a homemade crumble, jam or flavoured gin are all great rewards that make it worthwhile. u

Cheshire Wildlife Trust have events taking place across the county this autumn. For details visit cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/events. You can also keep up-to-date with Cheshire Wildlife Trust's latest news and ideas by signing up for their weekly Wild Cheshire e-newsletter at cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wild-cheshire.

Most Read

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Most Read

Latest from the Cheshire