Changing colours in the trees, the crackling of leaves underfoot and different scents in the air, Autumn is a season for the senses. Although the temperatures may feel as though they’re dipping after our Indian summer, there’s a comfort in reuniting with a favourite jacket, pulling on your boots and striding out in these autumn days.
Kicking your way through piles of leaves, foraging for blackberries in the hedgerow and leisurely cycles along leafy lanes are perfect weekend activities for all ages during these gold and orange-tinged days. And it’s a great time to pack up sandwiches, a flask of hot tea and a warm blanket and head out with the family to enjoy one last family picnic before the days start to get chillier.
Rutland’s countryside is just stunning at this time of year so why not walk a route that you’ve yet to tick off? How about walking a section of the Rutland Round as it follows the outline of our small but beautiful county? You’ll find new views to enjoy and maybe a cosy village pub, coffee shop or tearoom to enjoy at the end of your walk.
Head to the woods where children will enjoy hunting for conkers and acorns, and collecting leaves of all shapes and sizes along the way. We recommend Barnsdale Woods where you can leave the Rutland Water perimeter trail to explore the leaf-littered paths meandering through the trees, spotting bugs and birds within them.
Just beyond Rutland’s border, Fineshade Wood and nearby Wakerley Woods are the ideal destination for a pleasant ramble admiring colour changes in the trees, and are popular with families and dog walkers alike. Look up and you’re bound to see a red kite or two soaring high above you. At Fineshade Wood children can follow the Gruffallo trail and search for woodland creatures, burning off any excess energy on one of the outdoor play areas. Take a picnic or grab a bite to eat in Grounds Café in the courtyard.
For the birdwatchers, Rutland Water is a haven for birds and a must-visit location at this time of year. At Rutland Water Nature Reserve you should be able to spot redstarts, whinchats or rare warblers, and be on the look-out for wheatears in the large grassy areas.
All sorts of migrating ducks will start to appear out on the wetlands as the season changes, and the stronger winds bring with them rare species. Take yourself and your binoculars along to the recently refurbished Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust visitor centre at Lyndon or the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre at Egleton to get up-to-date information on these wild visitors and where to spot them. There’s a choice of hides here so your tick list is sure to benefit from the enjoyable hours you’ll spend here.
Why not join with a knowledgeable guide for a helping hand in spotting wildlife this autumn? The Trust hosts Terry’s Birdwatching Walks and Guided Walks with Jeff, both of which take place on Fridays.
If you love gardening and colourful borders and specimen plants are more your scene, then award-winning Barnsdale Gardens and its 38 beautifully tended themed gardens is the place to go. Open all year round, there’s no better place to observe the changing of the seasons and pick up inspiration for your own garden – oh, and enjoy lunch or tea and cake in the Helenium Tea Room!