As England’s most wooded county, Surrey is spoilt for choice when it comes for trees. And where better to find trees than in an arboretum? Last weekend, we set out on a quest for the perfect autumn colours at Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming in Surrey. I guess, that makes us Leaf Peepers?
A brief history of Winkworth Arboretum
A physician, Dr Fox, created Winkworth Arboretum in 1937, when he bought the woodland near his house. He spent many years introducing new trees and species to improve the autumn foliage. And what a success. Now owned by the National Trust, the arboretum is one of the top places to enjoy autumn colours in Surrey.
As it was still early October, the trees were only just starting to turn and there was still plenty of green. However, the greens were interspersed with a myriad of autumn colours.
The red route
Firstly, we followed the “challenging” red route, which is the longest trail and circles the whole arboretum. It is hilly in parts, but not really that challenging at all.
Although the trails are waymarked, the arboretum is easy to navigate and you can easily swap from one to another. The red trail took us to the left on the Spring Walk in the woods, giving us a splendid view over Badger’s Bowl.
Badger’s Bowl is a large meadow in the centre. Apparently, they cleared the trees to provide war supplies, leaving a large bowl-shape valley.
At the far end of Badger’s Bowl is one of my favourite trees, a monkey tree. From here a small wooden bridge leads to boardwalks, which took us across wetlands and onto another woodland trail.
Keep your eyes peeled for the fairy houses on the trees and a picturesque bubbling stream. Eventually, the path emerges from the woods another large meadow which borders the lake.
Following round the lake we met some very friendly ducks and arrived at the back of the romantic boat house. There was a strong candy floss aroma in the air. This sweet smell is a sure sign of autumn as the yellow Katsura tree only emits it at this time of year.
More beautiful autumn colours at Winkworth
After that, we followed up the Azalea Steps, where the signs of autumn’s arrival were far more obvious. The landscape had a kaleidoscope of seasonal colour, with russets, ambers, oranges, and crimsons. It really was stunning.
However, the autumn colours at Winkworth Arboretum aren’t just from the leaves. Berries, toadstools, and summer buds all added to the colour mix. One of the most intriguing was the Japanese Dogwood Tree, which looks like an unusual strawberry tree.
And undoubtedly the most stunning of all the trees are the Maples. A combination of Japanese, American and Norwegian maples add various stunning shades of scarlet to the landscape’s palette
Having fully explored the arboretum, we had a quick drink at Owl Bench, paid a visit to the Dr Fox Memorial and then headed back to the National Trust Café for lunch.
In conclusion, Winkworth Arboretum is a fantastic place to see autumn colours with the family. I’m keen to go back in a few weeks when all the reds have made a scarlet woodland carpet.
Getting to Winkworth Arboretum
Winkworth Arboretum is on the Hascombe Road, just outside Godalming in Surrey in South-East England. The postcode is GU8 4AD.
There is parking at the site.
The nearest train station is Godalming, which is about 2 miles from the Arboretum. However, the number 42 bus does stop outside the entrance.
Have you seen the autumn colours at Winkworth Arboretum yet? Please comment below.
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