Autumn's Here

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Autumn really is the photographers season, and in my opinion, the best season of the year. As trees, birds and wildlife prepare for the onset of the cold winter months they can dazzle us with their changes of colour and dramatic displays.

Autumn SnowdropIt's time to bring out the camera, clean those lenses and charge the batteries in readiness for this fantastic spectacle.  Good preparation will pay dividends when the drama begins.

 

There are some great places to visit during the month of October, locally there is Evenley Woods,  hidden treasure, where you can see autumn flowering snowdrops (Galanthus reginae-olgae) and an impressive list of spindleberries (Euonymus) and plants with their autumn clothes. 

 

Acer  Euonymus Snowdrop Beaches 

Beech TreeWe can't forget Visit Wytham Woods, the ancient woodland alongside the Thames with its stately Beeches and views of Oxford. Owned by Oxford University and used for their extensive research projects, and as such a visitor pass is needed (Get a permit) and no dogs are allowed I'm afraid. Located near the beautiful village of Wytham, there's parking near the sawmill to the west of the village and to the southwest at Botley Gate.  The route from village follows the road into the woods with a gentle incline towards the chalet and Wytham Studio where you'll find Sycamore, Oak, Ash and Beech.  Joining the medieval Singing Way, where monks once walked whilst making their pilgramage between Cirencester and Canterbury. Through the trees, looking east, one gets ever clearer glimpses of the dreaming spires of Oxford as the leaves fall from the canopy. 

 

Travelling a little further afield, a real favourite, is out towards Tetbury at Westonbirt Arboretum, where the Acer glades and the silkwood offer 300+ acres of walking and photo opportunities. Timing your visit in the autumn is important to catch the autumnal spectacle at its best, and if the weather is cool and sunny you can expect stunning displays. There are lots of routes to take, but visitor maps make it easy to choose a route. The arboretum is run by the Forestry Commission and there is a charge for entry, but its well worth the money. The new aerial walkway through the tree canopy is both interesting and exciting with a very different view than you'd normally expect to see. 

 silkwood  Weston  lichen  acer2  
 

 

If heading south then the National Trust's Sheffield Park and Wakehurst Place are a great choice. Sheffield Park with its four lakes and autumn display 

offers superb chances to explore and experiment with reflections and depth of field. The subdued light and atmosphere and along with an early morning frost or mist providing perfect conditions to capture great silhouettes, patterns and different textures, there should be plenty of subject matter to inspire you. 

   Sheffield Park 2

All these places are ideal to get some exercise in beautiful surroundings, take an autumn picnic and a warm flask of tea 

if it's on cold side.

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