Autumn At Westonbirt

Yesterday I went up to Westonbirt Arboretum, the national tree collection near Tetbury in Gloucestershire and very close to Highgrove House, Prince Charles’ home. Westonbirt Arboretum is owned by the Forestry Commission and as such belongs to the nation. It covers 240 hectares, or 600 acre,s and has 1600 trees  and 2500 species of tree from all over the world.

I arrived early, before eight and before the gate opened and first in the queue. Even at that time there were more than a dozen cars queued up behind me as the gate opened and I drove in. As they parked up and got out it became clear that they were pretty much all photographers and mainly in groups. For the first couple of hours the arboretum was reasonably quiet with the few photographers and a few walkers spread out over the 600 acre park. By 11 it was getting busy and by 12 it was getting ridiculous. Grown ups, kids and dogs. Lots and  lots of bloody dogs. Most off their leads and every bloody one of them intent on sniffing my photo rucksack and brushing past the tripod.

I don’t dislike dogs. I do dislike dog owners who don’t control their dogs and seem oblivious the fact that their dogs are often a nuisance to others. And the noise – dogs barking, owners calling their dogs, berating their dogs, berating other people’s dogs. So much for quiet recreation, which is what these places are about. Rant over. Anyway, I reckon that Westonbirt must have had upward of 5 or maybe 6 thousand visitors yesterday. It was a Saturday so I could have chosen a quieter day, and the weather was sunny. One of the very few sunny days we’ve had lately what with the British weather going crazy. Combined with the autumn colours being at their best about now it made for the perfect dog walker/family outing/photographer storm. The deluge of day trippers made photography a little trickier but 10 hours of walking, looking, seeing, composing and occasionally taking a picture paid off and a got a few pictures that I was reasonably happy with.

Westonbirt houses the national Japanese Maple collection.

 

A wider view of the colourful maples.

I particularly wanted to get some impressionistic pictures of the autumn colour. The rather blocky colours suit the next two photos.

Twisted Maple Branches.

And lastly a couple more leaf pictures.

 

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