August: the hottest month of the year, the height of summer. Yeah right. So we may not have had the greatest summer this year (and certainly not at Coombes) but that doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot to appreciate.

Even in August (the not-so-hottest month of the year) we are already starting to see signs of autumn. The swifts have sadly departed back to their wintering grounds in Africa, south of the Sahara, with the Hobbies not far behind them. Hobbies closely follow the migration pattern of swifts, predating the weak to get them through the journey.

Swift in flight - RSPB images

On a brighter note the woodland floor is fast becoming a forest of fascinating sculpture with an eruption of fungi. The autumn, through to spring, is the best time of year to see and forage fungi.

Fungi spotted close to the story telling circle (which fun guy can ID them?) - Katy Fielding

Beautiful patterns - Katy Fielding

There are still lots of butterflies fluttering around Coombes, enjoying the last of the summer sunshine (or whatever they can get). But soon many adult butterflies will die and others will begin searching for places to hibernate over winter. So if you see a butterfly tucked up in your shed, leave it be: it’s not stuck, it has specifically chosen that spot to wait out the winter. Feel honoured that you’re giving nature a home.

Painted ladies are a welcome sight on warm days at Coombes - RSPB images

We’ve still got a while to go before our winter visitors arrive: fieldfare won’t be back until October and some Redwing may be seen in late September, with the majority arriving in October.

Redwing enjoying some berries - RSPB images

Here at Coombes we like to celebrate every season and to mark all the joys and fun that can be had in autumn; we’re holding a forage festival! At this event there will be lots of family activities to get you as excited about autumn as we are.

There will be foraging walks, making bug hotels and bird feeders. As well as whittling your own wood, toasting marshmallows, face painting and even bat demonstrations! Don’t miss out on this fantastic event on the 26th September. For more information please contact me: or call 01538 384017 or look on our website. It’s going to be great – don’t miss out!