Canopies of red and gold, the rustle of leaves underfoot, cool fresh air…a brisk walk in the English countryside is good for the soul during autumn and winter. Here are some grand locations for your next autumn outing…
Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire
At Woburn Abbey you can stroll through the tranquil Abbey Gardens landscaped by the brilliant Humphry Repton. A walk can take you through approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds, to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.
Discover the bog garden, a recent addition with it carnivorous plants, the romance of the Doric Temple which was carefully restored last year and watch the recreation work in progress on the rockery and grotto.
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Hatfield House forms the centre-piece of the largest private estate in Hertfordshire, with the woodlands covering an extensive spread across the county. The woodland ranges from the traditional coppice to areas of conifer broadleaved mixtures. This diverse habitat attracts a rich array of bird, mammal and insect life that you can spot during your stroll.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
In this grand coastal estate, see the spectacular arboretum with its unusual and rare specimen trees resplendent in their autumn foliage. On 19 October, the estate is running Autumn Tours of the Private Gardens (book in advance, T: 01328 710227).
Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including the ninth installation of Beyond Limits, Sotheby’s annual exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the garden at Chatsworth (until 26 October). The Kitchen Garden is still producing good crops of plums, pears and apples to harvest.
Castle Howard, Yorkshire
One of the Yorkshire’s finest stately homes – take a stroll through Ray Wood to enjoy the season’s striking autumn colour from the many shrubs and trees, and huge array of ripened fruit and berries. Then make your way to the ornamental kitchen garden – Castle Howard Potager – for the autumn vegetable garden harvest.
All of these locations are part of the Treasure Houses of England group – 10 of the country’s most magnificent palaces, houses and castles. Alongside the places mentioned above, the group also includes Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Harewood and Leeds Castle.
For more information, including opening hours and contact details for the locations listed, visit www.treasurehouses.co.uk