Join wildlife columnist Jane Adams on a nostalgic journey as she rediscovers the magic of autumn, sharing the joy of re-connecting with nature
As a chill breeze ruffles the undressed trees, it brings with it a sense of excitement for the month ahead. At least, it used to … when I was young.
Which got me wondering – how can I recapture that love?
Because I really did love autumn when I was young. I couldn’t get enough of it.
With the ground a canvas of russet, amber and gold, pavements turned into a rustling playground. A gang of us would spend hours searching for conkers, stuffing them into already-bulging pockets, and even though conker competitions left our knuckles bruised and our shoes without laces, we couldn’t have cared less.
Then, as temperatures dropped, we’d crunch through frozen puddles, revelling in the feel of the ice exploding as it cracked deliciously under our feet. Autumn was fun – and having fun stimulated our imaginations, encouraged questions, and sparked a deep (unrecognised) connection with nature.
This is probably how many of us remember autumn.
But then we grow up.
We become serious and sensible. Find partners and set up homes. Bills, jobs and responsibilities weigh us down. We suffer setbacks, heartbreak, grief and loneliness. I’m not saying life is all doom and gloom, but when you’re an adult, autumn can sometimes feel … well, a bit gloomy. I groan as the days get shorter and the sun loses its warmth. The other day I even caught myself comparing hot water bottles on Amazon!
However, I have friends who still love autumn – and I mean they really love autumn. What if I could love it again?
So, for the last few weeks, I’ve given myself a challenge. Every day I search out piles of leaves, kicking them into the air, making myself (and passers-by) laugh. When I put the bins out, I’m stopping to appreciate the dazzling stars and moon before rushing back inside.
I pause and listen when I hear tawny owls and foxes calling, and I call back (even getting a reply sometimes). After it rains, I slosh through puddles in my wellies, and I’ll be jumping onto them after a frost just to hear the satisfying crack of the ice. Welcome back, nine year-old me. Having fun, being silly and not worrying about what others might think, as well as really appreciating nature and the season around me, has helped. Try it. You might enjoy it.
Wildlife walks and treats
Red Squirrel walks and a cream tea
Visit the island out of season, enjoy a guided walk, see the red squirrels – and finish with a delicious cream tea at Brownsea Castle.
12:40 to 4pm on 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th November
£30 includes ferry, entry, guided walk and cream tea
Booking on National Trust website here
Welly Wednesday walks
Kingcombe Nature Reserve
A regular meeting – join the Dorset Wildlife Trust group for a walk on Kingcombe Meadows followed by an optional visit to The Kitchen at Kingcombe for a restorative cuppa.
10:30am to 12pm on 8th and 22nd November – FREE
Booking on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s site here