Unexplored Autumn Colour at Westonbirt
There’s more to autumn at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, than the world famous maples.
Venture from the crowd at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum this autumn and even the most regular of visitors could discover new areas of spectacular autumn colour.
The National Arboretum, situated in the heart of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire and managed by the Forestry Commission, is internationally known for the fiery autumnal colour of its Japanese maples as well as hundreds of other species.
Despite its popularity, there are a number of quiet backwaters where you can find spectacular shows of colour to rival the celebrity maples.
Victory Glade in the Old Arboretum is often by-passed by people making their way to the popular Acer Glade. The full moon maples, katsura, dawn redwood and the rare Kentucky coffee tree all make Victory Glade a must-see stop on your route through.
Recently revived and opened up by the Westonbirt tree team, Wigmore Bottom is another more secluded piece of the Westonbirt patchwork. A kaleidoscope of colours can be spotted here on the hickory, Oriental plane and various birch trees.
Climb the slope away from Waste Drive in Silk Wood, and once you leave the tended belt of arboretum planting you'll discover Beech Bank; a wilder landscape of beech, oak, field maple and dogwood. The beech trees in particular provide a beautiful show of late autumn colour.
Another adventure off the main route towards Maple Loop will take you to Concord Glade. Here you'll find interesting species including deciduous conifers, swamp cypress and larch. The former's leaves turn a gorgeous tawny, orange shade.
Busy in the spring but often overlooked in the autumn, Silk Wood’s cherry collection provides great autumn colour, and this area is well worth a detour from the more popular Link.
And for searchers of real tranquillity, try the ash collection near to Waste Drive. It's always difficult to know with ash, but in a good year some species can surprise with their colour.
Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt for more ideas for your visit this autumn. Follow the autumn colour updates at www.fowa.org.uk from 1 October.
For further information.
2 September 2010
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