• The best season for exploring and the British countryside

    The best season for exploring...

    The best season for exploring and the British countryside

Autumn

Autumn is often the best season for exploring and the British countryside is never more beautiful than at this time. A characteristic of this brief season is that the light and the colours change with each day and this is one of the things I have always loved about it.

Each place has something unique to offer at this time of year and the Island is no exception. The beaches are quieter and the seascape ever changing, as the quality of light shifts with the changing weather reflecting soft cool greys shot through with sliver, through to bursts of golden light with waves of intense blue below. For visitors there are Autumn breaks to be taken advantage of, and with the children back at school or university comes the chance to explore another side of the Island, beyond the tourist trail with its crowded beaches and hit list of stop off points characteristic of the high summer season. For those who like to hit the trail on foot the Island is a crisscross of well maintained footpaths. I am told there are more footpaths here than anywhere else in Europe. It is easy to link up the numerous trails and circuits, as they are clearly marked, so it is possible to enjoy stunning views from the top of a down for a half hour stroll, or walk the entire day taking in ancient woodland, chalk headland, open farmland and beautiful coastline.

This time of year presents a great opportunity to enjoy our wildlife, and as I type looking out onto the garden it is filled with activity and a sense of urgency as the animals gather food for their winter stores and build up their reserves. The WWF have advised bird lovers to keep their feeders topped up, as this unusually wet summer has resulted in lower yields of nuts, with the hedgerow berries appearing later than usual. We are very lucky here to have an established and healthy population of our native red squirrel, and my garden has been graced this summer by daily visits from a male juvenile who has now grown quite accustomed to my presence. In the last week he has been joined by two others, and they nimbly chase each other around the feeder, sneaking up from above or below to grab a nut from the box while the other sits with his back turned feeding. For those of you who have never seen our native red a real treat is in store, and there are places on the Island where over the coming weeks you are most likely to see one. We have put up feeders at Farringford which attract regular visits from this beautiful animal.

This season stirs memories of child hood, and so there is a playful quality to it. I remember gathering cobnuts and kicking up leaves knee deep in East Kent where the woods are plentiful. I built paper boats to float in the puddles and played conkers. If the mood takes me I still catch rain drops on my tongue. But there is also a sweet melancholy to autumn. It is a season of such rare beauty, all the more so as it is so fleeting, and it heralds the return of shorter days.

A visit to the Island can be arranged on impulse at this time of year. The roads are less busy and ferry crossings and accommodation can often be booked at the last minute. It is under 2 hours from London and a short ferry ride, nonetheless, it offers a complete means of escape, whether for the day or for a longer stay. Often the weather is glorious, sometimes it is not, but generally it is milder than on the main land, and with the weather being so changeable comes the guarantee that no two days will be the same. So what are you waiting for? Pack the Wellington boots and the raincoats, and the dogs too, made very welcome here at Farringford, and come exploring. We are well placed for many of the best walks that the Island has to offer and our cottages are peaceful and restful. Several are equipped with wood burning stoves to welcome you on your return....and there is always a winning chance of an Indian summer after the drenching we experienced during the preceding months.

I have cherry picked a handful of exciting and seasonal events, mostly they embrace the outdoors, but one or two are for rainy afternoons and curling up with a book...maybe >>:

 
 

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