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Batsford Arboretum draws crowds in the heatwave!

PUBLISHED: 14:39 30 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013

Batsford Arboretum draws crowds in the heatwave!

Batsford Arboretum draws crowds in the heatwave!

Visitors to Batsford Arboretum bask in the Indian summer sunshine while enjoying the stunning autumnal leaf colours

With UK temperatures above 80 degrees (25C), people across Britain are taking to parks, gardens, the countryside and coast for some long awaited sunbathing. But all around us the leaves on the trees are turning red, gold and yellow and tree experts are predicting the best autumn colour displays for a generation.

So is it summer or autumn?

Well, with October beginning tomorrow (Saturday) it is most definitely autumn, but tell that to the visitors sunbathing today at Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds.

"In all my 25 years working at Batsford Arboretum," says Batsford Arboretum Director, Stuart Priest, I have never known anything like it. Literally hundreds of people are arriving daily, to bask in the sunshine whilst enjoying the autumn colours at the same time it really is the best of both worlds."

Botanists, foresters and tree experts are all confirming the sunshine and high temperatures will enhance the vibrancy of the leaf colours which were already going to be the brightest for some years. BBC Garden Writer, broadcaster and former Head Forester of the National Arboretum Westonbirt explains:

The hot weather tricks trees into thinking it is still summer, so they continue to grow and produce tree food, which is stored in the leaves as starches and sugars. The more starch and sugar the more dramatic the colours. Hot weather encourages the build-up of one sugar chemical compound in particular, called anthocyanin this enhances the brilliant red colouring in leaves. The brightest autumn colours are always produced when hot, dry early autumn days are followed by cool dry nights which is exactly what Britain is experiencing right now."

Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9AB, is open daily from 9am-5pm. Tel: 01386 701441, email arboretum@batsfordfoundation.co.uk or visitwww.batsarb.co.uk

PHOTO:Natalie Hampson and Emily Edwards enjoy the unseasonally warm weather among the autumn colours at Batsford Arboretum.

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