Signs of autumn are already starting to appear, says Matthew Oates, a National Trust naturalist.

According to the National Trust, the seasons have been distinct earlier than usual ever since we experienced the wettest and stormiest winter on record, and now signs of autumn are beginning to show in hedgerows and woods. 

‘Looking at this year, where does it want to be?’ Asks Mr Oates. ‘It raged its way through winter, then we went into an incredibly early spring, and then it rushed helter-skelter through spring without stopping for breath.’

Singling out the already well-developed beech nuts as a sure sign of autumn’s arrival, Mr Oates adds that he also seen signs that animals’ and birds’ behaviour is being affected: ‘We’re ahead still, remarkably ahead, birds have largely stopped singing, a lot of butterflies are very early and are still coming out early.’ 

Although Mr Oates claims that most species came through the tough winter as ‘winners’, he was also careful to point out the low number of bees, flying insects and certain species of butterfly, such as cabbage whites. 

However, Mr Oates confirmed that an early autumn should not spell problems for wildlife.

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