Halloween fun with the National Trust

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

The mysteries of Halloween have brought out the creativity of the National Trust which is celebrating the end of October in very different ways.

Children are being invited to solve a mystery of missing beasts at Lacock, join a Halloween trail at Dyrham or explore a cat trail at Avebury during the half term fun.

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

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Join Bill Bailey & Monty Halls to support the Coast Path Challenge

Fancy a challenge? Join Bill Bailey and Monty Halls this month by taking part in the South West Coast Path Challenge to help protect the coastline. By registering your challenge and pledging your support on social media, you’ll be supporting a cause that is close to many people’s hearts and you could also win a Go Pro Hero4 camera – the ultimate tool for recording your adventures.

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Stourhead celebrates the first hints of Autumn

Stourhead autumn colours on a misty morning

A warm September and unremarkable summer could hold the secret to one of the most spectacular autumn colour seasons at Stourhead in Wiltshire.

The National Trust gardeners at Stourhead are hopeful that the trees and shrubs have benefitted from the gentle British summer this year and are set to put on a beautiful display around the lake at Stourhead.
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Pantheon takes centre stage in autumn ‘performance’

Autumn may have been slow to arrive but now the landmark Pantheon at Stourhead is being framed in rich autumn colours, and is once more open to visitors after months of vital repairs.

Alan Power, Stourhead’s head gardener, and sometime media star, said: “The garden is showing definite signs of autumn, with strong pockets of colour arriving.

“To really appreciate the change that happens in autumn, you should visit a few times, to experience just how the garden develops throughout the season, and the how the landscape changes.” Continue reading…

Autumn colour is a natural tonic to beating the winter blues

red squirrel at Brownsea Island

red squirrel at Brownsea Island

New research from the National Trust has found that the kaleidoscope of natural colours experienced on an autumn walk makes 87% of people in the South West feel happier, healthier and calmer.  More than 40% admit to feeling down as the nights draw in.

The conservation charity released the findings as part of its Great British Walk 2014, which launched this week with an invitation to enjoy a rainbow of walks. Shades of blue you find on walks by water or when the landscape is coloured by the evening’s darkening sky were found to help soothe away stress by 38% of people in the South West, while the greens of hilltops and pine woodlands leave 51% of people in the South West feeling more connected with the natural world.

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Stourhead celebrates Autumn

A wet September could hold the secret to spectacular autumn colours at Stourhead in Wiltshire.

After a dry summer, National Trust gardeners reported that dry trees were more likely to shed their leaves quickly, before the colours fully developed. However, following the wet spell in September, hopes are higher that the full spectacle of autumn colours will be seen at their best this year. Continue reading…

Autumn colours set to be “one of the best” at Stourhead

Autumn colours have just started to wash through the trees at Stourhead’s landscape gardens as the team at the National Trust property predicted potentially one of their best years for Autumn colours.

 Thanks to the huge number of tree types at Stourhead, the fiery colours of Autumn start early and have a long season, being expected to develop over the next six to eight weeks.

 The wet weather in the summer, while a problem for many orchards, has caused the trees to produce large numbers of leaves which are now showing Autumn colour as the weather turns colder.

 Alan Power, the head gardener at Stourhead said they have over 600 species of tree and shrub in the landscape gardens, planted 250 years ago to create a changing view as the seasons progress.

 “We did have a burst of warm weather late in the year which allowed the trees to increase their sugar levels. Combined with the wet weather which has allowed the tree to hold more of their leaves than in a long hot summer, it should allow richer and warmer Autumn colours to develop and a real spectacle of warm colours washing through the woodland from now right through to early November.

 “If the weather is kind – and we don’t have storms in the next few weeks – there is the potential for one of the best and longest Autumn seasons we have seen at Stourhead.”

 To guide visitors wanting to know how the autumn colours are developing the Stourhead Leaf Line has been set up for the latest updates.

 The special Autumn leaf line – 01747 841152 – will have regular recorded updates from Stourhead head gardener Alan Power. The recorded update is accessed by dialling the number and selecting option 6.

 ‘We had a few early hints of autumn, and the Maples, both the Norway and Japanese Maples, are always the first to turn with the rest of the garden is coming along a nice steady pace,’ said Alan.

 ‘We are fortunate to have a garden with such variety which means that Autumn is never a single day event here – there is no best time to visit – it is a six to eight week period when people love to come again and again and watch the changes as the colours wash across the different trees in the garden.

 Every autumn at Stourhead is different as the trees respond to weather throughout the summer and subsequently during September. Depending on the amount of moisture in the ground and the stresses the trees have suffered from weather over the summer months, autumn can start very suddenly or can develop gently across the gardens.

 Alan added: “Autumn is perhaps my favourite season in the gardens at Stourhead. The plant collection itself is worth coming to see but added to it the architectural features within the landscape, the way the trees reflect in the lake on the calm days – especially when the tulip trees on the islands turn yellow – makes it a very special time of year.”

 The vision of the garden was laid down in the 18th century by Henry Hoare II who placed Stourhead at the forefront of the 18th-century English landscape movement. Inspired by the views ofItaly captured by artists in paint, he decided to create a landscape garden at Stourhead that would bring art to life.

 His work was carried on by his grandson Richard Colt Hoare who added to the garden and developed the current paths also adding many of the broadleaved trees, especially beech, acers, chestnuts, planes and the tulip trees.

 For more information on events at Stourhead visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead

Ring in seasonal change with “leaf line”

Visitors wanting to know how the autumn colours are developing at Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire can now call a special ‘leaf line’ for the latest updates.

Although autumn colours started showing early on some trees, gardeners are reporting a steady start to autumn which is likely to linger into November.

The special leaf line – 01747 841152 – will have regular recorded updates from Stourhead head gardener Alan Power as the 600 different species of trees and shrubs in the world-famous landscape gardens change. The recorded update is accessed by dialling the number and selecting option 6.

‘We had a few early hints of autumn, and the Maples, the Norway and Japanese Maples, are already fading but they are always among the first to turn. The rest of the garden is coming along a nice steady pace,’ said Alan.

‘Autumn is not a one day event – there is no single best time to visit. It is a six to eight week period when people love to come and visit and plot the changes as the colours wash across the different trees in the garden.

‘Right now the beech is just starting to show the very first signs of colour but the oak is still very green. It is always the one of the last to turn.’

Every autumn at Stourhead is different as the trees respond to weather throughout the summer and subsequently during September. Depending on the amount of moisture in the ground and the stresses the trees have suffered from weather over the summer months, autumn can start very suddenly or can develop gently across the gardens.

Alan reports that this year has seen a gentle start with different types of trees in the plant collection starting to change at different times.

‘It is the autumn that brings out the best in the gardens here. The plant collection itself is worth coming to see but added to it the architectural features within the landscape, the way the trees reflect in the lake – especially when the tulip trees on the islands turn yellow – makes autumn well worth the time of watching the changes develop,’ he said.

The vision of the garden was laid down in the 18th century by Henry Hoare II who placed Stourhead at the forefront of the 18th-century English landscape movement. Inspired by the views of Italy captured by artists in paint, he decided to create a landscape garden at Stourhead that would bring art to life.

His work was carried on by his grandson Richard Colt Hoare who added to the garden and developed the current paths also adding many of the broadleaved trees, especially beech, acers, chestnuts, planes and the tulip trees.

Throughout autumn there are several events planned at Stourhead including A Fungi Foray on 8 October, a woodland Trim Trek on 29 October and an autumn colour Walk on 30 October.

For more information on events at Stourhead visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead