This is the season that our wonderful woodlands are at their most resplendent, the colours are magnificent and the days perfect for a delightful walk. Rob Bullock suggests just a few of the walks in our area.
The area we live is blessed with small and large woodlands, new plantations and spooky older ancient areas, hedgerows and forests. We have even got unique coastal wooded areas too. We really have it all and, at the moment, they are at their most vivid. So, why not get out and about for a gentle stroll so you can see nature’s showstoppers!
Here is a small selection of some of the best places to see autumn tints in our area:
Brown Robin Nature Reserve at Grange over Sands covers a magnificent 66 acres, half of it woodland and half grassland nestled at the back of the Railway and Grand Hotels and is owned by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
The origin of its name, which is the name for a juvenile robin before it acquires its distinctive red breast, is not certain but the Grand Hotel was known as Brown Robin House when built by the Liverpool sheet metal magnate turned banker W.E. Maude in the 1840s, becoming a hotel in the 1880s.
This wood is a typical example of a limestone woodland of ash and hazel with yew forming dense stands in places and is a magnificent place for a woodland walk at this time of year as the colours are particular intense before the leaves finally drop.
Getting there: By car drive from Grange-over-Sands, take B5271 Windermere Road towards Lindale. Parking is in a layby on the right-hand side of the road approximately 1km/0.64 miles after the mini-roundabout. Or, alternatively, park near Grange Railway Station and approach the reserve on foot via the driveway to the Netherwood Hotel.
Clapham Nature Trail is set at the top of the beautiful Dales village. The trail and meanders its way through native and unusual woodland past a man-made lake before opening up overlooking the dramatic Thwaite Scar. Much of the exotic planting was undertaken by the Victorian botanist Reginald Farrer following his expeditions around the globe. Recent additions of information boards at various points along the trail provide visitors with interesting facts and figures about the walk.
The trail ends at Ingleborough Cave which has a kiosk selling drinks and snacks and is open every day until the end of October and weekends throughout the winter.
Getting there: Clapham is easily accessible from the A65, has its own station with direct trains from Morecambe and Lancaster and is on the Way of the Roses cycle route that begins in Morecambe.
Ashmeadow Woodland in Arnside is a two hectares plot of woodland and is typical of the semi-natural woodland found around the Morecambe Bay limestone area. The principal species are oak with ash, beech, wild cherry and a few sycamore, birch and wych elm.
Groves of old yew trees are also a particular feature in this woodland. Yew trees were also planted along the drive together with trees around the house and garden, and some are estimated to be over 300 years old.
Getting here: This is a pleasant walk which is accessed from the end of Arnside promenade but you can also walk along the first bit of the coast path and access the woodland from the opening near the coastguard station. It does involve some climbing but it isn’t too steep and has good wheelchair access. It is particularly scenic in the autumn with the berries and changing colours.
Serpentine Woods is stuated on the north west end of Kendal. The woods are a great place for families with an alphabet sculpture trail along the pathways. You can pick up an alphabet trail leaflet from Kendal Tourist Information Centre or Kendal library or print the scultupre clues off the internet. The walk can be started from Queens Road in Kendal.
The Forest of Bowland is a large expanse in the north east of Lancashire. The visitor centre is located in Beacon Fell Country Park, where another sculpture trail can be found. With it’s large accessable car park and views stretching as far as Blackpool and Morecambe Bay, it is a popular place to visit year round. The spectacular Abbeystead Reservoir Weir can be reached on a circular walk through Hinberry Wood (take care with children).
Aughton Woods is situated five miles north east of Lancaster, between Aughton and Caton and enjoys the peace and solitude of a wood in a remote rural location within easy distance of Lancaster and Morecambe.
These woods at Aughton are a good example of an older wooded area as it is classed as an ancient semi-natural woodland – it has not been managed for almost one hundred years – and has around thirty examples of abandoned charcoal hearths. As you walk around the woods you can almost hear the ghosts of the people who made their living from the ancient trees. This season is one of the best times of the year to soak up the atmosphere of such a peaceful place.
Autumn is the best time of the year to pay a visit to one of our wonderful woodlands. But please check the weather forecast before you set out, make sure you are wearing suitable footwear and charge up your mobile phone before you go.