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Autumn colour at Westonbirt Arboretum

Have you ever visited Westonbirt Arboretum in Tetbury, Gloucestershire? If not, I can highly recommend it - most definitely one of our national treasures. It is ablaze with colour in the autumn and has the most extensive and beautiful collection of Acers I have ever seen. It's become something of a birthday tradition for me to visit - luckily for me, my birthday tends to fall at the peak of the colour :)

Despite moving to the coast, I couldn't miss out - Westonbirt in the autumn really is one of my all time favourite things to do. So this year, we made a little mini-break of it and stayed a few nights in Lacock, a very pretty village in the care of the National Trust, about 30-40 minutes away. We enjoyed visiting Lacock Abbey and its beautiful grounds. We also managed to fit in a visit to Bath on a rainy Saturday, and a leisurely visit to Courts Garden. We found Lacock the perfect base - considerably cheaper than staying in Bath and very well located for Westonbirt. If you do plan a visit to Westonbirt next year, it is so much better to visit on a week day if this is at all possible - it gets very busy in the autumn and the car parks get jam packed on weekends.

I make no apologies for the amount of photos in this post! We spent a very happy day wandering around Westonbirt, and believe me, I can take a LOT of photos in a day ;) It's a very popular place for photographers, so you will sometimes find yourself elbow to elbow with fellow snappers. I remember smiling to myself as I took these photos - I think there were about 8 or so other women around me, with their heads in the trees and cameras glued to their eyes and it was completely silent - apart from the sound of shutters.....

Westonbirt is HUGE. It is split into two parts - the old arboretum, and the new arboretum. My favourite part is the acer glade in the old arboretum - but there are so many paths and collections and Acers everywhere - so it's very easy to get lost. But lost in a good way! Dogs are only allowed in the new arboretum, which is vast - perfect for long walks. You'll find a greater variety of trees there, but still a good smattering of Acers (did I mention I adore Acers?!!).

The colour seemed especially good this year and I found myself drawn to the reds like a moth to a flame. The beautiful leaves make a wonderful background as well as a foreground.

If you're interested in the lenses and settings I used to capture these photos, you might like to take a look at my recent post: Photo tips: capturing autumn / fall colour.

And just to prove it's not all about the reds, here are a few other colours I managed to capture :)

And finally, I just had to include a few favourites from my visit to the very beautiful Courts Garden. We got there early, before it opened, so enjoyed a lovely walk from Courts to Great Chalfield Manor and back. And ended our visit the perfect way, by stumbling across a super lovely cafe nearby called the Old Glove Factory - bright, light and spacious with delicious food and comfy chairs for reading the papers. Oh, and superfast wifi. A most happy Sunday indeed :)

These giant heart shaped leaves came from a vine - just amazing!

Heart shaped leaf at Courts Garden

We were even treated to a few bursts of sunshine whilst we were there - most welcome indeed, after a very grey weekend.

Next to Acers, I think these gorgeous giant leaves from the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) have to be my absolute favourite. They really are a perfect tulip shape. I spent rather a long time playing with these, alongside the toddlers ;) If you'd like to see a few more, have a look at my video on Instagram - but I warn you, it's a bit spinny, spinny!

A bunch of yellow Tulip Tree leaves (Liriodendron tulipifera) from Courts Garden

You'll be relieved to know that's it from me (for now) - well done on reaching the end!

I'm shortly off on a lovely break away somewhere with no wifi, phone signal or tv - bliss! So things will be a bit quiet on here for a while - but I promise to return with plenty more tales and photos.

Autumn glorious autumn ~ Part 2

I enjoyed a fabulous wander around the stunningly beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum at the end of October as my traditional birthday treat - there really is no better place to be at this time of year :)

My favourite bit without a doubt is the Acer Glade in the Old Arboretum - I just adore Japanese Maples. We started here and returned for some Blythe shots. It really is quite tricky to find the right spot to prop them up that's at the right height and supportive enough to hold them (their heads are very heavy!). It was VERY muddy so I was paranoid that they would take a tumble into the mud. Luckily the worst that happened was a bit of green slime on their tights ;)

I love the photo below of me, taken by my lovely husband. This was how I was to be found much of the time - head in the trees, searching for the prettiest leaves and the prettiest light! My favourite lens for autumn leaves is my 100mm macro lens - I love to focus on the details with a soft background. Low light levels make holding the camera steady pretty challenging, though, so inevitably lots of photos ended up in the bin!

Most of the leaves here are now on the ground, so these photos will have to help carry me through until springtime - I really don't like everything bare and brown! Nature really does put on a pretty spectacular seasonal finale.

As always, you can find more photos on Flickr in my Autumn Glory Album. I've also uploaded several of these images to my Red Bubble shop in case you are interested in cards or prints. There's currently a 15% discount on Wall Art (posters and prints in a range of sizes and formats) and Home Decor (cushions) with code RBGIFTS15 which is valid until the end of Thursday 13 November.

Autumn glorious autumn ~ Part 1

I just adore autumn and it's glorious display of colour in such warm, rich shades. It's so uplifting. Autumn leaves are such a gift - I always feel compelled to capture that beauty on my camera, to carry me through the winter months when the trees are bare and the world becomes monotone.

It's an annual ritual for me to go hunting leaves with my camera - and a traditional birthday treat - nothing makes me happier (except perhaps the sea!) :) These photos were all taken in Harcourt Arboretum in Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire last weekend. And this weekend, as my birthday treat, we're heading to the amazing Westonbirt Arboretum. So I thought I'd best get these photos published pronto :)

There really is nothing finer than listening to birds chirping away with sunshine on your face, and gorgeous low, warm light pouring through the trees, setting the leaves aglow. It really is tonic for the soul.

For more autumnal fabulousness, take a look at my Autumn Glory Album on Flickr.

Autumn - Part II

Apologies for such belated blogging - a *must do before the end of the year* frenzy going on here - with resolutions to do better next year :)

I had the great fortune to visit not one, but three arboretums in October: Harcourt Arboretum, Batsford Arboretum and Westonbirt Arboretum. Each and every one was stunning, and so very different. Such a great month for color too. I can't believe I've never been to Westonbirt before - it's so beautiful and so vast - there's lots we didn't see - so many return trips are planned! We were also blessed with lots of sunshine - nothing quite like photographing autumn leaves whilst bathing in the warm sunshine :)

Here are some more highlights, mostly from Westonbirt Arboretum. See previous blog post for more - and of course, Flickr.

Autumn palette ~ soft pinks
Autumn palette ~ full colour range
Golden whispers
If you go down to the woods today….
Autumn peephole
Every shade of autumn in one tree
A canvas of leaves
Dreamy autumn
Autumn bouquet
Dreamy yellows