Posted 4th Oct 2017 by Peter Byrne
There's nothing quite like the colours of Autumn to make you smile, with their strong and vivid textures
While the trees are shedding their summer coats, subsequently leaving bare branches, they are still beautiful and dramatic against the Autumn skies, meaning there's nothing quite like a leisurely walk to energise and refresh the soul.
Autumn treats us to one last burst of colour before Winter sets in, with trees across Essex bursting into golds, browns and shimmering reds, creating an artist's palette for all to enjoy, not least within our many Country Parks, which are ideal for walkers and cyclers, some coastal and some inland. Trees will also provides activities for the whole family, such as climbing and den building, something which can be forgotten about in this day and age, but will always be a fun activity if it's conducted in a safe environment.
There will be an abundance of gardens to visit and appreciate in Essex. For instance, Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum is one you shouldn't miss, with stunning displays of foliage and trees, which are just waiting to be photographed. There are quite literally breath-taking views all around the ancient woodland, with the gardens and arboretum featuring a tree collection from all the temperate areas of the World. This includes a robust walk with the Curator on 16th October running between 6am and 9am to experience the changing palette. Breakfast will be included at The Barn afterwards.
At RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Rettendon near Chelmsford, you can enjoy the wonderful vistas over the rural Essex countryside, including the ones to be found in this inspirational garden. Their gardener has just won the 'largest pumpkin' prize at the Malvern Autumn Show too, along with the first ever Taste of Autumn Show, which will take place on 7th and 8th October. You will be able to indulge in an array of regional artisan produce too, as well as watching their head chef and head gardener team up to do cooking demonstrations using produce grown at the garden. You'll also be able to explore the new Global Growth Vegetable Garden, recently featured on Gardener's World.
The Gibberd Garden near Harlow is a little treasure that shouldn't be missed. The amazing garden was developed by Sir Frederick Gibberd - who was also the Town Planner for Harlow New Town and a leading post-war architect. It was planned as separate enticing rooms, with each turn revealing a new vista or work of art. Occupying nine acres of lawns, glades, streams, wild garden and arboretum, it also has a dramatic mature lime avenue.
Epping Forest offers the ideal setting to appreciate the colours of Autumn. The wonderful old woodland is of both national and international conservation importance, with 50,000 ancient pollard trees, and 100 lakes and ponds. The 2,400 acres span from Manor Park all the way out to Epping, and you can walk or cycle to your hearts content, as it will be open 365 days a year. The Autumn / Winter period also offers better vision in dense areas to spot the Fallow Deer, which is often seen on walks in the forest. On arrival, there are the visitor centres to visit, so you can grab a map with walking routes and great ideas for things to do. The Forest is served by several underground and national rail stations too, while also being on a bus route.
Head down to the Dedham Vale for a fantastic Autumn view (and walk), in an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Nothing will get you ready for the sight that will behold you, with magnificent trees which glitter in beautiful yellow and gold in the Essex sunshine.
Last but not least, there are the amazing views on offer from Hadleigh Castle in Hadleigh County Park, south of the county. Offering beautiful sea views over the Thames estuary all the way to Kent, there are unrivalled opportunities for countryside recreation and wildlife watching. At 387 acres - it's one of the largest parks in Essex - it offers an intimate mix of woodland, pasture, ponds, hay-meadow and marsh. By Autumn, one of the big pulls will be the many blackberries and sloes growing there.