Autumn Tryptych (Part 2)
Another place we like to go – especially in the autumn – is the National Trust estate at Stourhead, a magnificent landscaped water garden.
Stourhead is a bit of a trek for us, so we don’t get to go as often as we’d like, and predicting the moment of maximum autumn colour is tricky: last year we left it too late and some high winds stripped all the leaves. However, after finding autumn in full-swing at Westonbirt earlier in the week, we thought the time was about right.
For several years now, the BBC Radio 4 ‘PM’ programme has invited the Head Gardener, Alan Power, to outline the progress of autumn on the estate, and he gives a wonderful, lyrical description which makes delightful listening and conveys a deep love and enthusiasm for the estate and for nature. When we arrived at Stourhead, we were pleased to find a BBC radio car along with the Head Gardener preparing for the broadcast, which suggested we’d timed our visit perfectly to see the autumn colours at their best.
Not for nothing is Stourhead world-famous: its 15 acres of water reflect a spectacular treescape studded with the wonderful textures and architecture of classical buildings, bridges, and temples. We had a wonderful time exploring amidst the reds, golds, and russet brown colours. We admired a particularly vivid red acer on the dam next to the lake, and another near the Gothic Cottage, while the boys enjoyed investigating huge tree trunks, the passages and grottoes, and wading in the shallows. As is our custom, we concluded with a visit to the excellent tearoom to fortify us for the journey home.
Once home, we tracked down Alan Power’s broadcast on BBC Radio Player, and listened as he described the scene as ‘building up to one of the most beautiful autumn scenes I’ve seen in a few years’. Barring any freak weather, autumn at Stourhead is only going to get better over the coming weeks, which might just tempt us to make the journey again very soon….
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.
Favourite place in the world:
A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.