Walk at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire has a magnetic pull on anyone wanting a Sunday walk on a cold bright November afternoon.

This is their busiest time of year and the acers are so busy being photographed that they barely have time to let another brilliant yellow leaf flutter delicately to the ground.

Zeb and his sister are in heaven here, no mountain bikes, no cars, the odd deep and muddy hole, grass and turf, leaves to tumble and other dogs to meet. Dogs are welcome in the Silk Wood and we dog walkers are very grateful indeed for their hospitality. Those of you who don’t like dogs have the old Arboretum to walk in untroubled by them too. Something for everyone here.

It’s a wonderful and magical place, full of peace, light, dappled shade, extraordinary trees, a friendly plant centre, a franchished restaurant/tea room which is OK, children’s play spaces, lots of events if you like them, workshops, all sorts goes on there.

Go for the jewel colours of the Autumn display, sneak off away from the main paths and wander across the badger sets, and look for butterflies and fungi, pose with trees, they’ve seen it all I imagine, and just have a lovely time.

I guess I should explain this one; it’s one of the nine visible entrances  to an enormous badger set (or sett) , not far from one of the main paths through the Arboretum, we reckoned the set covered an area at least twenty metres across, maybe more. Fortunately most poodles are not interested in going underground to explore.

All photos copyright Brian J Kent. All rights reserved. Taken with a Cannon Powershot G10.

25 thoughts on “Walk at Westonbirt Arboretum

  1. Jeannette

    Very good pictures, I will be showing them to my eldest son, who has just bought himself a new camera. I know he will be interested and admire them too.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The place was stuffed with people communing with leaves today, cameras everywhere, a festival of leaf. This was Brian’s small camera. He reckons it’s pretty good for a compact :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Darling! I will tell B what you said, he will be pleased :) I think that most of the doggy people who go there respect the place and are very grateful that they are allowed to use the Silk Wood. We are allowed to have the dogs off the lead and that is getting increasingly rare. There is good evidence that where dogs are allowed to roam like this of course that ground nesting birds are disturbed and breed less, so I am always in two minds, but the other part of the Arboretum is off limits to them and dog walkers are regular visitors, bringing in revenue to the place, where other visitors might come once or twice a year.

  2. C

    Stunning photography by Brian! I love the final changes of colour that the leaves go through, it almost makes up for the fact that it’s getting cold…

    1. Joanna Post author

      They were so tired when we got home, quite worn out from saying hello to lots of children who wanted to pat their woolly tails. They always have a lovely time there Brydie ;)

  3. Misk Cooks

    Well done to Brian on the photos. Really striking shots. It’s interesting that the acers still have their leaves in your area because the acers in my garden are nearly bare now. The begonias and daisies and marigolds are still going strong but the acers gave up the show several weeks ago.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Misk, I will tell him for you. We have one acer in the garden from Westonbirt, a small one and it still has its leaves. Though probably not for long. I have a big red poppy about to open, I wonder if it will manage to do it or whether the cold will stop it…

  4. Suelle

    Lovely phots – well done Brian!

    We were at Westonbirt about a month ago. It was a little early for the Autumn colours but the Japanese Acers were beginning to turn. It’s the only place where I can take better photos than Hubs, because he is colourblind!

    1. Joanna Post author

      It is splendid isn’t it? We were there two weeks earlier and the leaves hadn’t really turned then, it’s all happened in the ten days or so. If you are planning a visit to see them it’s worth looking at their site. There is a blog that charts the progress of the autumn colours there. I am sure you take beautiful photos all the time you and Hubs!

  5. teawithhazel

    i love your amusing expression ‘communing with leaves’..together with the beautiful photos it succinctly portrays the glory of autumn..and i can smell the lovely earthy damp autumn aroma..ah….

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hee hee -you have never seen so many bristling camera lenses jane, people being polite, queuing up almost by the big ones on the main paths, fortunately there are lots and lots and other things to photograph, like the fungi and there are ferns and seed heads and all sorts. Great for practising your close ups. I was dog controller this time so no photos from me ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Once, just once, I was in upstate New York in fall and was taken out to see the colours. People wandered around in a trance state almost, completely awed by the beauty and majesty of those leaves. I have never seen anything like it here. This is very small scale compared to the grand displays you have in the States. Thanks for that I will tell him :)

  6. Melanie

    Gorgeous pictures! I love the golden yellow leaves of those acers, so dainty and precise looking. I’ve seen leaves like that here, but I don’t know what the trees are called. I can just picture a small furry creature peeking his head out of that badger hole and blinking in the sunlight. I had a dachshund once that would probably have been glad to try and fit down that hole. Autumn is such a lovely time of year!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Melanie – I always thought that badgers were small until I met one outside my mother’s home many years ago. A full grown male is about the size of a labrador though much much shorter. The holes we saw on Sunday were about 16 inches across. Your dachshund would have flown down there ! :) I had a friend with Jack Russell terriers and they would have dashed down somewhere like that…


      Not my picture sadly, comes from the Wirral & Cheshire Badger Group. Hope it’s OK to link to it here.

      Fact Sheet about Eurasian badgers here

      Click to access Eurasian%20Badger%20Factsheet.pdf

  7. heidi

    Brian’s pictures are always top notch! And the leaf display is lovely- just lovely!
    We do have a nice Autumn colors here in the Northeastern part of the US- but yours is beautiful as well- there is a softness in the light in England that makes the golden glow from the trees shine differently than it does here.
    And I love the badger hole=it makes me want to re read “Wind in the Willows”.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The light is different here, very soft, maybe it’s the air pollution, or the humidity but you are right ! I wanted to take a picture of the whole sett, it was huge and I wanted to go back at dusk and see them coming out too….. ah well… :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Emily, it’s a lovely place to go for some peace and quiet, unlike (the even more famous Kew Gardens in London) there are no flight paths overhead ;)

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