Autumn Colours at Westonbirt
Today’s blog is a pictorial one, because sometimes a picture does paint a thousand words, and the National Arboretum at Westonbirt has 15,000 specimen trees to choose from.
Covering 600 acres, the arboretum lies about 3 miles south-west of Tetbury and is located next to Prince Charles and his Highgrove House Estate.
There are 17 miles of footpaths covering two distinct areas; there is the Old Arboretum, which is an area formally planted to create vistas and avenues of trees – and Silk Wood, which is less formal and has a more natural woodland feel to it.
The planting began in the mid-19th century as part of the Westonbirt House Estate (the house became a girls’ boarding school in 1927) and is now managed by Forestry England.
From Mid-October to Mid-November people flock to Acer Glade to witness the fantastic spectacle of the Japanese Maples changing colour. The exact time to see them at their best changes slightly each year depending on weather conditions before and during the season.
St. Nectan's Glen
A Magical, Mystical Valley in North Cornwall
We’re now at that time of year when everyone, it seems, is travelling around – everyone, that is, except me.
I’m not a great one for heading off into the summer traffic, but for anyone who has little choice, and prefers somewhere peaceful, perhaps St. Nectan’s Glen may just be the place for you.
Many people travel down to Cornwall for a summer break, and quite a few beat a path to Tintagel. It’s easy to see why; it has a magnificent coastline and a castle that lures people who have a fascination for King Arthur.
The town is a bit too touristy for my liking, but just a 5 minute drive out of town along the road to Boscastle is a car park where you can leave the car behind, and head up through St. Nectan’s Glen to somewhere that is so magical that it could easily be home to Merlin himself.
Nowhere conjures up the spooky mood of Dartmoor more than Wistman’s Wood.
Legends abound about how this small remote wood of dwarf, stunted oak trees hanging with beards of lichen and moss have attracted ‘Wisht Hounds’ – a “pack of huge black dogs with blood red eyes, huge yellow fangs and an insatiable hunger for human flesh and souls” according to Legendary Dartmoor.
On a more down to earth level Wistman’s Wood is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain and is pretty difficult to walk through due to the clitter (granite boulders) that is scattered amongst the trees.
Although the wood is in a remote location it can be easily reached from Two Bridges via a well designated footpath which shouldn’t take any longer than half an hour.
On a summer’s day it’s a pleasant walk alongside the West Dart River, but even at this time of the year you need to keep your eyes open for adders (Britain’s only poisonous snake).