The in-between season
As we move out of summer and into autumn, one of the things we all look forward to is how pretty this time of year becomes as we say goodbye to glistening green, and say hello to glowing gold and rusty red trees. As the evenings grow darker, the extra time we spend indoors and the anticipation we hold for celebrations like Christmas and New Year often gives this time of year a stronger sense of family.
But with the changing seasons comes colder weather, and this can sometimes put people off camping, even though it is the perfect opportunity to get back outside and enjoy spending time with loved ones.
We’re here to show you that Autumn camping is not only possible, but will let you enjoy the Autumn season to its fullest!
What makes Autumn camping so good?
Firstly, it’s cheaper and quieter. Campsites adjust their prices at different times of the year depending on how busy they are likely to be, and the summer holidays are the prime time for camping.
Pitch prices and visitor numbers are often significantly lower at the beginning and end of the main season, meaning you can get a more personal experience for less. Just imagine having a serene little woodland grove all to yourself, with only the birdsong echoing around you.
Secondly, it’s gorgeous! As the leaves on the trees turn into a beautifully autumnal array of crimson, orange and gold, this time of year is perfect for woodland walks as the sunlight illuminates the forest canopy. If you’ve brought the kids or even the dog too, then they’ll love running around the forest experiencing all of the new sights, smells and diving into piles of freshly shed leaves!
The nice medium temperature of autumn also lends itself to getting some heart-pumping exercise. It’s not so hot it’ll leave you sweltering on a cycling trip, but not cold enough to leave icicles on the end of your nose during a hike. This balanced temperature is great for getting active in nature.
Plus, it’s a prime time for wildlife enthusiasts. Autumn sees the return of many seasonal winter birds to the UK. You can while away the hours peacefully spectating wading birds from a cosy hide or listening out fieldfares on forest walks.
The midst of deer mating season will also have spectacular rutting stags, and many species of smaller mammals we don’t otherwise see will be highly active as they prepare for hibernation.
Autumn weather can be changeable, it’s not like the summertime when you can look at the long term forecast and be pretty comfortable the weather will stick to what it should.
Keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared to adjust your plans. Push your trip back a bit to avoid an incoming low pressure front, or bring it forwards to seize upon a sudden break of good weather.
Plus, with modern holiday tending to be so heavily fixed in place, a little bit of spontaneity can really liven things up! Camping lets you pack-up and go on a moments notice unlike an other kind of getaway.
Taking a variety of clothes with you is vital to keeping yourself comfortable in changing conditions. Layering will let you adjust to the weather on the go.
A base layer to keep your body free of moisture is essential, then combine that with mid and thermal layers for insulation. To resist the wind and rain add a waterproof shell layer on top.
Don’t underestimate the importance of socks! Good quality, thermal socks are a must… you’ll thank me later…
Take the right gear too. During the summer we can get away with flimsy and rudimentary camping equipment, but this won’t stand up against the tougher weather later in the year.
A sturdy tent which has been securely set up with strong guylines will withstand the wind and rain. You’ll also appreciate the extra space of a larger tent if the weather keeps you stuck inside it for long periods.
A cold temperature rated sleeping bag and a sleeping mat will keep you warm at night, and a portable camping stove will let you cook some hot meals and drinks to keep you toasty on the inside and out.
Go with a positive attitude
When getting caught in a bout of wet weather, the reason we often find it so miserable is because we expend so much effort trying to avoid something which is sometimes inevitable. If you go in expecting you might get wet, and simply except it if does, suddenly the stress of trying to avoid it disappears.
That’s not to say all Autumn camping trips are guaranteed to be a washout, but preparing for it mentally will help you make the most of it if the weather does turn sour.
Go into an autumn camping trip with the mindset that you’re going to have a good time no matter what the weather throws at you. If you get wet, so what? You’ve come prepared!
Where to go?
Here at Camping New Forest we have two sites which are open over Autumn. Holmsley is open until the 31st of October, whereas Setthorns remains open all year round.
At a time of year when the wind can be biting, the sheltered woodland of Setthorns gives a cosy atmosphere where you can enjoy waking up to birdsong and let your tent be flooded with the stunning colours of the New Forest. Then after a long day of discovery and adventure, you can rest with a warm meal and a hot drink under the starry night sky.