30 days of autumn

30 days of autumn

Keeping busy this autumn
Forest Holidays


Arts and crafts with kids

1. Acorn owls

We adore these cute owls, made with autumn acorns, a bit of glue and some felt! Super simple and adorable; kids and adults will both have a lot of fun making these. A great crafty idea from Red Ted Art.

2. Leaf rubbing

Angela at Mum of Three Musketeers has the perfect autumn craft to do with the kids. Collect some sturdy, flat autumn leaves, a bunch of colouring pencils and some rough paper; place the leaf under the paper (veins upwards) and use a little pressure to rub the crayon over the paper at an angle. You will see the leaf print start to appear, just like a drawing!

3. Leaf hedgehogs

Sarah from Taming Twins has plenty of ideas on how to use autumn leaves in crafty ways. To make a leaf hedgehog, cut a hedgehog shape out of plain paper and glue and stick leaves to bring him to life!

4. Leaf crowns

Transform into a king of the forest, or a woodland fairy, with a handmade woodland crown. Fix beautiful leaves to a paper head band for some quick and easy forest dress-up fun – another great idea from Sarah at Taming Twins.

5. Pinecone Frames

As well as leaves, there are also lots of pine cones to collect in the autumn. Mum of Three Musketeers shows you how transform the sticks and cones you collect on an autumn walk into these fab autumn frame decorations.

Little girl at table

Image credit: Taming Twins

Things to do with Kids

1. Gruffalo Trail

Our Keldy Forest site has a signposted Gruffalo Trail, going through woods and over bridges. Great fun for kids, Gruffalo trails are located at woods and forests all over the UK; find one close to you at the Forestry Commission Website.

2. Kick up the leaves

Relive the simple pleasure of kicking up autumn leaves with young children. Red Head Baby Led says this is her little girl’s favourite thing to do at this time of year as she loves the colours of the leaves – she even saves them to take home and dry out at home!

3. Feeding the squirrels

Tired Mummy of Two has a great autumn activity for the kids. Head to the woods with the kids and a bag of monkey nuts to try and seek out some hungry squirrels and help them fill up their nut stores for the winter.

4. Seeing Seals

A top tip from Louise at My Gorgeous Boys is to visit the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve in autumn. Seals visit this area in Lincolnshire to give birth from late October to December. Families can see seals in the wild from the viewing platform, fill out a fun quiz and learn about the UK’s amazing marine wildlife.

5. Pumpkin Carving

Try your hand at pumpkin carving with the kids; it’s great for Halloween, but fun to do all throughout autumn. Tired Mummy of Two suggests keeping all the innards to make tasty seed snacks or pumpkin soup.

6. Build a Forest Den

Get out in the woods and learn how to build a forest den! We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to building the ultimate forest den – a great activity to do with your family that helps teach children the importance of teamwork.

Mother and daughter walking through the autumnal forest

Image credit: Red Head Baby

Autumnal meal ideas

1. Blackberry & Apple Dumplings

Foodie blogger Karen Booth’s delicious recipe for sweet dumplings is perfect for warming you up after a long day exploring the forest. Made with foraged blackberries and seasonal apples, these dumplings embody all the tasty flavours of autumn. See the full recipe here.

2. Wholemeal Herb and Onion Focaccia

Michelle at Utterly Scrumptious has a tasty recipe for delicious focaccia bread that’s ideal for snacking on during a long autumn forest walk!

3. Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Helen at FussFreeFlavours says that pumpkins and squash reflect the lovely yellow and orange leaves of autumn, making them feel more seasonal. Check out her great recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi, perfect for rustling up in your cabin!

4. Pumpkin and Apple Soup

Use two of autumn’s best seasonal ingredients with this sweet and comforting Pumpkin and Apple Soup recipe from Lilinha Angel.

5. Best Bonfire Toffee

Follow Louise’s recipe for incredibly simple, but incredibly tasty, bonfire toffee. Handed down from her Grandma, the recipe only needs four ingredients and is perfect for a sweet treat on a chilly autumn evening. Learn how to cook it up at Louise’s My Gorgeous Boys blog.

6. Autumn Crock Pot

Slow cooking is great in the autumn, and Snigdha from the Snig’s Kitchen blog has a great guide for beginners to slow cooking. Check out this post for ideas on what to cook up, from Turkish Lamb Pilau to a tasty sugar free cranberry sauce recipe.

7. Maccaflower Cheese

After a long wet and muddy autumn walk, macaroni cheese is a quick and delicious meal to warm the family up. Snig’s Kitchen uses cauliflower in her ‘remixed’ version, combining two classic British favourites into one super-tasty dish!

8. Apple Loaf Cake

Make the most of autumn’s apple harvest with this recipe for Apple Loaf Cake from At Home with Mrs M. With cinnamon, walnuts and toffees, it’s sure to please both grownups and kids. 

Focaccia bread

Image credit: Utterly Scrumptious

Dog walks in autumn

1. Sherwood Pines Nightjar Trail

The Nightjar trail at Sherwood Forest is easy to follow with pink banded markers. The route follows the easier dragonfly trail and then continues on an unsurfaced trail through a variety of natural habitats that your dog will love exploring, from mature pine trees through to lowland heathland.

2. Hide & Seek

Jessica at Velcro Dog loves to play Hide & Seek with her dog Lupo in the forest. Autumn is especially good for playing Hide & Seek with your dog as there are big piles of leaves but still enough cover from trees and plants to give owners a head start against those super powerful dog senses.

3. Mallyan Spout

Mrs Carlie Lee visited our Cropton site with her lovely pup Dora. She took Dora and the family for a jaunt around Mallyan Spout – a lovely walk that takes in the best of Yorkshires stunning scenery.

4. Dog ride

Stephanie, who blogs at Faiint, explores the forest on a bike with her dog Nico. Stephanie recommends a Trixie Biker harness which attaches your dog’s harness to your bike – it’s a great way to make sure your hound can run safely alongside you whilst you cycle. Perfect for dogs with endless energy!

5. 'Find it!'

Stephanie also loves to play ‘Find it!’ with Nico – take some of your dog’s favourite treats with you on a forest walk and test their hunter spirit by hiding the treats in a small area. Start off hiding them quite close by and then hide them further and further away; it’s a great physical and mental work out for you dog!

Dog in forest

Image credit: Velcro Dog

Photography tips

1. Taking nature photos close up

Get creative with some close-up photography of the autumn forest leaves. The different textures and colours of the leaves at this time of year make for a brilliant photography subject. Nature photographer Paul Hobson's top tip for autumn photos is to create your own light. “Light levels in forests are often low, so using a torch is a brilliant way to illuminate the subject but not flood the whole scene with harsh light. Torches work really well shone onto, or through, leaves.”

2. Look for interesting textures

Rosie, from A Rosie Outlook, has some great nature photography tips for when you next visit the forest. Look out for different textures; water bubbling down a stream, a curly, fluffy dog coat, a gnarled tree stump, spiky horse chestnuts, silky feathers, dewy grass or wet bracken all make for interesting photos.

3. Try different angles

Another top tip from Rosie when taking photos in the forest is to experiment with different angles. Putting your camera on the floor and capturing images at group level is a great way to portray autumn with pine cones and leaves in the foreground.

4. "From where I stand"

Taylor Hearts Travel suggests a unique point of view for great autumn photos. Find a good pile of autumn leaves on the floor (avoiding the muddy, well-trodden ones) and place your feet in the pile. Hold your camera up at head height, pointing down towards your feet. You want to avoid pointing it too close to your body, so that it mostly shows your feet at the edge of the frame. Hold it steady, in a landscape position and snap. Ta-da! You’ll have a perfect, personalised, autumn leaves snap!

5. Mix up the lights

Autumn is all about bright crisp mornings and dark shadowy evenings. Capture these atmospheres in your photos by getting creative with different lights; Taylor Hearts Travel suggests getting out in early morning or early evening and using both trees and local architecture to frame the light.

6. Finding Forest Animals

Paul Hobson has some great tips for trying to photograph the UK’s forest wildlife. Learn how to research the forest habitat, what clothes to wear, what treats to take and the best camera settings for capturing animals with Paul’s animal photography guide.

Explore autumn holidays


Image credit: A Rosie Outlook