10 OF THE BEST PLACES TO SEE AUTUMN COLOURS

As autumn gets underway, Britain's forests, parks and gardens come alive with a dazzling display of colour. Here are 10 of the best places around the Flybe network to see the season at its best...

Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead, Lake District (Manchester)

Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead, Lake District (Manchester)

Located between Lakes Coniston and Windermere, Grizedale Forest is famous for its outdoor sculptures, and its 6,000 acres of larch, oak, elder and beech provide a stunning backdrop of autumn colour for them. Since 1977, leading international artists have created sculpture in response to the forest’s unique environment, establishing the first collection of site-specific art in the UK. Now around 40 artworks are located across the forest, linked by the network of walking and cycling trails. Many are hidden among the trees, in a place that inspired the artist. New sculptures are added each year, while others are allowed to naturally decay back into the forest so the collection is changing all the time. The sculptures are linked by a series of waymarked cycle and walking trails.

 

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Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire (Bristol)

Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire (Bristol)

Visit one of the world’s finest 18th-century landscaped gardens, complete with a lake, classical temples and grottoes. Stourhead was planted with beech, oak, sycamore, Spanish chestnut, ash and holm oak by a team of gardeners under the garden’s creator Henry Hoare. A generation later, birch, horse chestnut and ash were added, all adding to the glorious display of fiery foliage.

 

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Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire (Birmingham)

Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire (Birmingham)

Autumn at the 56-acre arboretum brings with it a riot of leaf colour ranging from deep, butter-yellow through to orange-reds and crimsons, as well as an abundance of berries, thanks to a collection of acers, mountain ash and whitebeam, amongst others. Batsford is home to Britain’s largest private collection of trees and shrubs, including Far Eastern species and has one of the UK's first comprehensive bamboo collections.

 

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Faskally Woods, Pitlochry, Perthshire (Edinburgh)

Faskally Woods, Pitlochry, Perthshire (Edinburgh)

The owners of Faskally House created this 2,000 acres of 'model woodland' on the banks of Loch Dunmore in the 19th century, and the house later became a school for young foresters. You can explore the rich mix of tree species along the Foresters' Trail, or take the Dunmore Trail around the loch. There's a spectacular show of autumn colour from 25 species of tree, including Scots pine, silver and downy birch, ash, oak, hazel and bird cherry. Every October, Faskally hosts The Enchanted Forest, a multi-award winning sound and light show with an original musical score set against the backdrop of the forest itself. 

 

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Sheffield Park, Fletching, East Sussex (London Gatwick)

Sheffield Park, Fletching, East Sussex (London Gatwick)

Famous for its autumn colour, this is the season the garden was planted for. Arthur Soames, owner during the early 20th century, introduced many of the species which create this spectacle to the 250-acre site. The reflections in the garden’s four lakes add to the splendour. There are 25 species of acers in the garden, and 240 specimens in total. The leaf colours range from lime green to bright red, and are particularly attractive as they develop autumn colour. The garden boasts the largest collection of nyssa on one site, planted to create a spectacular autumn display. Visit the National Trust for more information. 

 

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New Forest, Hampshire (Southampton)

New Forest, Hampshire (Southampton)

Created by William the Conqueror in 1079 for hunting, more than 50 square miles of the New Forest National Park is woodland, home to redwoods, birch, beech, alder, sweet chestnut, holly and many more species. Each year the deciduous trees and shrubs that fill the ancient woodland begin to change from vibrant greens into coppers and intense reds, yellows, burning oranges and purples.

 

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Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall (Newquay)

Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall (Newquay)

Cardinham is 650 acres of beautiful mixed woodland, including oak, alder, rowan and willow, creating magnificent autumn colour. Waymarked trails will take you deep into the woods to discover stunning viewpoints and an intriguing history, and then visit Woods Café, set in a charming, centuries-old woodsman’s cottage with an open fire and welcoming atmosphere.

 

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Bodnant Gardens, Colwyn Bay, Wales (Liverpool)

Bodnant Gardens, Colwyn Bay, Wales (Liverpool)

This historic, Grade 1-listed horticultural gem overlooks the Carneddau mountains of Snowdonia and is home to botanical collections from around the globe. Its illustrious tree collection contains 40 UK Champion Trees – the best examples of their kind in Britain – and 130 Welsh Champion Trees. Trees define the landscape at Bodnant and the collection goes back more than two centuries. The story of Bodnant Garden’s trees goes back to the Georgian era when the first beech were introduced - at that time not a common tree in Wales. They were planted along with oak, sycamore and chestnut as part of the first landscaping around Bodnant Hall in the 1790s. Some of the Champions include a 35m giant sequoia planted in 1890 and a 20m-high Japanese umbrella pine. 

 

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Hackfall Wood, Yorkshire (Leeds Bradford)

Hackfall Wood, Yorkshire (Leeds Bradford)

Hackfall is a stunning woodland site – described as a ‘beautiful wilderness” – near Masham, with lakes, waterfalls, follies and an intricate network of paths to explore stretching along the banks of the River Ure. Autumn brings the ochres and scarlets of Japanese maple, with swamp cypress and birch, sycamore, ash, wych elm, oak, beech and silver birch adding to the gorgeous display.

Nineteenth-century writers hailed it as one of the most beautiful woodlands in the country, while romantic landscape artist Turner painted in these woods.

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Westonbirt National Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire (Bristol)

Westonbirt National Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire (Bristol)

Don’t miss this world-class arboretum with around 15,000 trees and 2,500 different species. It’s ablaze with colour from late September to November – their collection of Japanese maples is particularly spectacular during October. The arboretum was created in the mid-19th century when the Victorian thirst for exotic botanics was at its height.The 600-acre site has 17 miles of paths and is divided into three main areas: the Old Arboretum, the ancient woodland of Silk Wood, and the Grade I-listed Downs grassland. A treetop walkway offers beautiful views across the arboretum landscape.

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