If you’re a ‘leaf peeper’, one of those people who likes to travel to see and photograph the Fall, then you can look forward to some amazing Autumn colour in the East of England.
National Trust experts are predicting a ‘good’ season for blazing browns and oranges, so it’s going to be a great time to get outside and enjoy the season.
Pamela Smith, National Gardens and Parks Specialist at the conservation charity says: “Autumn colour is not only determined by what the actual weather is doing now, the weather patterns throughout the year are also key – particularly levels of sunshine, but also levels of rainfall, a lack of which can cause stress for trees which is why there have been early shows of yellow or brown autumn colour and leaf-fall in parts of the country.
“Over the next few weeks we do need some more sunny days, more rain and colder temperatures – but staying above freezing – with no storms, to help boost what could be a really good year for autumn colour.”
Pam continues: “Autumn colour is also determined by day length and temperature. The shortening of the days and lower light levels as we move through October stops the production of chlorophyl, the green energy creating pigment in leaves. As the green pigment fades the underlying colours of reds, oranges, browns and yellows become apparent.
“We start spring by following blossom from the south to the north, for autumn we reverse the journey and it is our northern most gardens that will start the autumn fanfare. And with above average sunshine levels for parts of northern England, most of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland over the summer we could see a fantastic autumn particularly in these areas.”
Top 10 spots for autumn colour in the East of England
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Lord Fairhaven and his brother bought Anglesey Abbey in 1926 and turned the grounds into a year-round garden, with different areas within its 114 acres coming into their own in different seasons. Highlights during the autumn include the hornbeams that form Jubilee Avenue and turn into a golden tunnel at this time of year, and the Temple, a sculpture of large columns set against a colourful mixture of beech, alder and sycamore trees, with drifts of pink cyclamen carpeting the ground along the riverside walk.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
The breath-taking Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows. The dazzling displays of autumn colour are abundant throughout the gardens and estate from the oak, beech, lime and sweet chestnut trees. Enjoy a walk around the lake to see their colour reflected in the calm waters, or head to the Great Wood in search of weird and wonderful fungi. The view from the parterre’s terraced lawn is the perfect spot to watch each layer of colour unwrap as the day matures.
Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
One of the most elegant country houses in East Anglia, Felbrigg Hall is a place that surprises and delights. With its eye-catching autumn foliage and fungi, the Great Wood at Felbrigg is possibly one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets. Take a stroll down the beech-lined ‘Victory V’ avenues, where the towering branches create tunnels of colour over your head. It’s worth making a detour down the Lion’s Mouth as well, where the narrow winding lane flanked by trees really does feel like it is entering the jaws of a fire-coloured lion.
Ickworth is an Italianate Palace in the heart of an ancient park. Formal gardens, pleasure grounds, rolling Suffolk landscape and woodlands invite gentle strolls or long walks, runs and bike rides. For the best of the autumn colour, head for the Albana walk where the maples, chestnut, beech and oak trees range from bright yellow to deep red at this time of year. Alternatively follow the red route and enjoy a walk through Lownde Wood, taking in the colours or the park. The autumn deer rut will have started and you may hear Fallow Deer bellowing to attract females and warn away other males.
Melford Hall, Suffolk
It’s fair to say that Melford Hall has had its share of trials and tribulations, but it’s thanks to many generations from medieval monks to the Hyde Parker family who still live here, that this home still stands. Enjoy the gardens and parkland as the season changes at Melford Hall. The park walk is a highlight at this time of year – stroll through the picturesque Suffolk countryside, enjoying views of the mellow red brick house and across the village, framed by dazzling autumn colour. The parkland is home a large number of significant trees, see if you can spot the gnarled branches of the ancient oaks, trees that have stood on the land since Anglo-Saxon times.
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
It’s hard not to fall in love with Oxburgh Hall. In autumn the beech trees in the wilderness offer spectacular displays of colour. They go copper orange just before they fall and look particularly beautiful in the low sun and mist of early autumn mornings and in late afternoon as the sun moves out from behind the house they suddenly ‘pop’ with colour. As the fruits of the orchard ripen their colours will begin to show, especially the dark red Harry Baker crab apple, yellow quince, and the reds, greens and yellows of East Anglia heritage apples.
Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
The change in seasons at Wicken Fen is clear to see as the vibrant green of the summer Fen foliage changes to soothing ochres and golds. At this time of year the sedge turns russet, which becomes golden in the evenings as the setting sun shines through the leaves. This time of year is also ideal to spot some of the resident wildlife with Orb-weaver spiders spinning their delicate webs and bright blue flashes of Kingfishers diving into the waterways.
The walks from Flatford open up vistas of reds and golds, as the trees start to change colour ahead of winter. The inspiration for some of John Constable’s most famous landscape paintings, we’d recommend walking along the purple trail in the autumn, taking in the changing colours of Orvis Wood.
Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Wander through Sheringham Park to discover its ancient and remarkable specimen trees, such as the golden larch and smooth Japanese maple. Scattered through the leaf litter, weird and wonderful fungi grow in abundance – the un-sung heroes of autumn. There are around 100 species of fungi to spot at Sheringham Park, including nationally rare lilac mushrooms and golden bootlegs. Veteran beech and oak trees will often react to drops in temperature to provide a golden display in the Wild Garden, often coinciding with the colourful show of fungi.
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
With the colours of the trees ever-changing at Wimpole, meander around the estate on a circular walk. From here you’ll be able to enjoy views of the lakes, Chinese bridge and 18th-century folly, as well as the magnificent trees that create the perfect backdrop at this time of year. Why not explore the wider estate with our new multi-use trail? Designed for runners, walkers, cyclists and adapted wheelchair users, this safe off-road trail is ideal to explore the outdoors and witness autumn in all of its colourful glory.