(Slightly belated) Hello Autumn

These photos were taken a few weeks ago as summer was blending into Autumn and the first signs of the approaching cold season were emerging. The ground was heavy with moisture and the headiness of the new season, and the hedgerows were full of fat blackberries and dusky sloes, heavy jewels among the leaves.

We headed out into Kent again, the need for air and space driving us. We started our walk in the pretty village of Leigh, sleepy on a Sunday morning, its houses shuttered and still decorated with late-summer blooms, the sky a soft lavender grey, the air tinged with a coolness that we had not felt for months.

We passed quiet gardens strewn with the first furled leaves of the season and straining apple trees, against crumbling red brick walls, their heady burden weighing down their branches, the grass at their base covered in fallen fruit, in dusky hues of russet brown and green.

A herd of slow-moving cows watched us through gentle eyes as we trod a well-used path through fields edged in browns and fawn, seed heads and dried dock heads silhouetted against the sky, catching the little golden light that appeared momentarily.

Above us, the familiar sight of horse chestnut, with its huge leaves and spiky fruit, the promise of brand new conkers with their shine and silky soft skin, to hold in a hand, a small cold treasure. The blackberries overwhelmed us and we picked as many as we could carry, wiggling our hands among the prickles to reach the juiciest ones, staining them in purple ink.

Subtle reds of hawthorn and rose-hip, deep purple-black of elderberry, warm green turning to yellow flame. Streams bulging once again after the first autumn rains, leaf-shadowy tunnels between fields.

We ate our sandwiches and sipped hot chocolate in a tree-lined avenue, observed by a huddle of sheep, their wool thick and damp, bramble filled and messy. 

The last part of our walk took us through the beautiful

Knole Park

(owned by the National Trust) with its rolling grassland and wooded copses, and then past the magnificent Knole House, childhood home to Vita Sackville-West and so huge it has a room for every day of the year! 

W

e didn't go into the house but we did spot some of the park's inhabitants, flitting among the trees, little dashes of fawn against the green, wide eyed and speckled, with little white tails. 

The walk we followed was

this

one and it took us about half a day with stops for picnic and photo-taking. I'd love to hear about your Autumn adventures too - where have you been exploring recently?