‘I ’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.’ So said L M Montgomery’s wide-eyed optimist Anne Shirley in She was, of course, talking about the beauty of the month on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, but her words could equally be applied to the other side of the pond, and especially Yorkshire, where our three national parks and thousands of acres of woodland provide autumnal adventures galore. Splendid autumn landscape at Yorkshire Arboretum Anne of Green Gables. AUTUMN LEAVES AND ABUNDANT ORCHARDS Does anything conjure up the image of autumn more than falling leaves in vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow? Yorkshire has wonderful woodlands aplenty to explore, from the oak and beech trees at Hardcastle Crags to Thorp Perrow and the Yorkshire (nationaltrust.org.uk) (thorpperrow.com) (yorkshirearboretum.org) Arboretum Castle Howard. Yorkshire Arboretum’s director John Grimshaw says: ‘Autumn here is like a slow-motion firework display: first one group of trees will colour up – perhaps a group of birch turning clear yellow – then another comes on and does its thing in a brilliant burst, for example hickories turning gold for just a few days. And there’s the long slow burn of the ‘October Glory’ red maples, heating up from September onwards and peaking perhaps in early November when the oaks and beeches are also at their best. As well as the leaves there are berries to enjoy: many colours of sorbus from Europe and Asia, red viburnum berries, and the startling pink and orange confection that are the fruits of our native spindle bush. Maple keys twirl down elegantly, and long chains of wingnuts hang green among the leaves.’ There really is no better time to don your walking boots and visit the arboretum, particularly as it is appealing for funds to help with the shortfall caused by the Covid lockdown, and enable it to complete a Tree Health Centre. ‘This will give us the opportunity to teach people about the many pests and diseases our trees are suffering from and encourage everyone to think about healthy trees for a healthy future,’ continues John. ‘The wellbeing benefits of green spaces and trees are being appreciated more than ever this year.’ If you’re rambling with small children, remember to take a bag, collect up some of the prettiest fallen leaves, then search on Pinterest for ‘leaf crafts’ when you get home – perfect for those less clement autumn days. Prefer your trees laden with seasonal fruit? Beningbrough Hall has more at (nationaltrust.org.uk) 36 Yorkshire Life: October 2020
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