I love the smell of autumn; the mix of damp earth, bark and leaves are a heady combination for this tree lover. Last weekend, I was able to get my fix of one of my favourite aromas, in addition to the warm colours of the season all around me at Exbury Gardens in the New Forest National Park, which were the creation of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, and contain 200 acres of plants and woodland. It’s very family friendly, with a steam railway to amuse children, both young and old, which last week featured a ghost trail for Samhain, or Halloween as it is more commonly known.
However, it is the gardens which my family and I love at any time of year. Although Exbury is only open from March to December that gives you enough time to see the seasons change and we have visited in the early summer when the flowers are beginning to put on a show, and autumn, as we did last week.
The colours were vibrant, and the falling leaves had begun to reveal the trees’ elegant structure beneath the canopy; all of which was greatly enhanced by the warm sun which resulted in the several layers of clothing which had put on expecting a chill in the air, to be removed and shoved into our rucksacks. Many families were enjoying the weather, and we passed some children climbing trees near the edge of Beaulieu River as their parents took a rest, keeping a watchful eye than none of them fell in.
The riverside walk is just one of many routes you can take around the grounds, beside large ponds, over bridges, through tree-lined walkways and past all the rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, which have now died down for the coming winter. The gardens attract a lot of visitors in the summer months, primarily due to their famed flower collection. You can certainly spend an entire day there taking photographs, painting or drawing the myriad of beautiful views Exbury has to offer. There are a couple of places to eat (the cakes are homemade and delicious!) but many people take a packed lunch as there are plenty of places to sit, eat and admire the scenery.
My advice would be to get there just as they open, have a cuppa and a slice of cake then begin your tour, taking your packed provisions with you.
Today, the weather is considerably different to last weekend; it’s wet and very windy. I’m lucky to be in the dry and to have been out last week on such a glorious day. I hope wherever you are, you can enjoy the autumn colours too.
I visited Exbury Gardens at my own expense. Follow the link below for more information: