Head of into our beautiful rural countryside for an amazing glimpse into the colours and textures of Nature
There’s nothing quite like the colours of Autumn to really make you smile – strong and vivid with wonderful textures. As the trees slowly shed their summer coats, leaving branches bare, but still beautiful and dramatic against the Autumn skies, there’s nothing quite like a leisurely walk to energise and refresh the soul.
Autumn is Nature’s way of treating us to one last burst of colour, before Winter sets in, and trees across Essex are bursting into golds, browns and shimmering reds, creating an artist’s palette for all to enjoy, not least within our many Country Parks ideal for walkers and cyclers – some coastal, some inland. Trees also provide activities for the whole family, such as climbing and den building, something perhaps forgotten in this day and age, but always a fun activity if in a safe environment.
In Essex there are an abundance of gardens to visit where you can appreciate the autumn colours, and Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum is one not to be missed. Stunning displays of foliage and trees just waiting to be photographed! There are quite literally breath-taking views all around this ancient woodland, and the gardens and arboretum feature a tree collection from all the temperate areas of the World. You can enjoy a robust guided walk with the Curator on 16th October from 6am – 9am to experience the changing palette. Breakfast is also included at The Barn afterwards, cost £17.50. www.markshall.org.uk
At RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Rettendon near Chelmsford, you can enjoy wonderful vistas over the rural Essex countryside, as well as all around this inspirational garden. Their gardener (in his own right), has just won the ‘largest pumpkin’ prize at the Malvern Autumn Show too, and the first ever Taste of Autumn Show will take place here on 7th and 8th October. Indulge in an array of regional and artisan produce, as well as watching their head chef and head gardener team up to do cooking demonstrations using produce grown at the garden. You can also explore the new Global Growth Vegetable Garden which recently featured on Gardener’s World. www.rhs.org.uk/hydhehall
This little treasure is one not to miss – The Gibberd Garden near Harlow. An amazing garden developed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, who was also the Town Planner for Harlow New Town and leading post-war architect. Planned as separate enticing ‘rooms’, every turns reveals a new vista or work of art. It occupies 9 acres of lawns, glades, streams, wild garden and arboretum, with a dramatic mature lime avenue. www.thegibberdgarden.co.uk
There’s no better way to appreciate the Autumn colours than at Epping Forest. This wonderful old woodland is of national and international conservation importance, with 50,000 ancient pollard trees, and 100 lakes and ponds. The 2,400 acres span from Manor Park all the way out to Epping, and you can walk or cycle here to your hearts content, as it’s open 365 days a year. The Autumn/Winter period also offers better vision in dense areas, to spot the Fallow Deer, often seen on walks in the forest. On arrival, visit one of the Visitor Centres and grab a map with walking routes and great ideas for things to do. The Forest is served by several underground and national rail stations too, as well as being on a bus route. They also have several centres and open sites suitable for those with disabilities and the old, or families with young children, so it’s accessible to all.
For a fantastic Autumn view (and walk), head down to the Dedham Vale – an AONB (Area of Outstanding National Beauty). Nothing can prepare you for the sight that will behold you – magnificent trees glittering with yellow and gold in the Essex sunshine. One could be mistaken for being on the East Coast of America, it’s so glorious!
And last but not least the amazing views from Hadleigh Castle in Hadleigh County Park south of the county – as well as the beautiful sea view over the Thames estuary all the way to Kent, there are unrivalled opportunities for countryside recreation and wildlife watching. At 387 acres – one of the largest parks in Essex – it is an intimate mix of woodland, pasture, ponds, hay-meadow and marsh. In Autumn one of the big pulls, are the many blackberries and sloes that grow there! http://www.visitparks.co.uk/places/hadleigh-country-park/
The sights, sounds and opportunities to get out and appreciate Autumn, as well as take some fantastic photographs in the county at this time of year, are endless – you will undoubtedly ‘fall’ in love with Essex.