I decided to drag myself away from Book No 3 yesterday and spend the day at Westonbirt Arboretum with my neighbour Neil and our dogs, Rufus and Harry. This is one of the best times to visit, as the autumn foliage colour at Westonbirt, which houses the National Collection of Japanese Maples, is spectacular.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't wonderful - it was grey and damp, but not too cold and not actually raining. I hadn't been to Westonbirt, which is about 20 minutes away by car, for a couple of years, so I was intrigued to see the new treetop walkway. Unfortunately, the walkway is surrounded by conifers, and beneath it is some sort of play area or work area with a lot of wooden structures (I was trying not to look down too much, so I didn't really see), so from a distance, it doesn't really give you an indication of what is in store.
Westonbirt was busy: the schools are on half-term holiday this week, so there were hundreds of people, accompanied by lots of children in brightly coloured bobble hats, and dozens of dogs.
Trying to take photographs of a garden when it is full of people is quite a challenge. I didn't even bother taking my camera - I just used my iPhone.
It's always nice to have a place to yourself when you are trying to look at things, but on the other hand, I loved the fact that it was so busy. I loved the idea that so many people wanted to take their children there for a half-term outing, and that the children themselves seemed to be enjoying it so much. All around there were small excited people climbing on trees, kicking leaves, and comparing leaf colours. It was fantastic.
Most of the really colourful foliage was provided by the maples, but there were other trees in full autumn regalia as well, such as the Kentucky yellowwood, or Cladrastis kentukea (see final picture). Hope you enjoy the pictures.