Posted on Friday 8th September
Autumn, is our favourite time of year in The National Forest. The time when low suns, long shadows, bright colours and crisp fresh air make our hearts beat faster. Whether you have a few hours or even better, a few days, time living the #forestlife is precious. Read on for some great ideas and experience the gold rush yourself this autumn.
For some of the best autumn displays, head to the Outwoods and Beacon Hill. Alternatively, there’s the rich and vibrant Willesley Wood, near Ashby de la Zouch, where the field maple and rowan always put on a good show. Owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, Willesley Wood is one of the first woods planted as part of the National Forest and is fast becoming a haven for wildlife.
Come on a gastronomic journey through the Edible Forest Festival. Indulge in local food and drink, enjoy family friendly outdoor activities and lots more in the ancient Charnwood Forest. This weekend long festival will have a menu to tempt everyone – from secret banquets and breakfasts to afternoon tea, from cocktails to cider – all inspired by, and using, local produce. 15-17 September. Advance booking essential.
For a spirited day out, visit Burleighs Gin, deep in Charnwood Forest. Here you can learn the art of distilling your own craft gin to enjoy at home. This artisan distillery is the perfect countryside escape and offers a unique insight into the world of a gin distillery. Advance booking essential.
Come and be a ‘maker’ at Greenwood Days. Whether novice or experienced, you can come for a day, a weekend, or even a whole week and learn a new craft. Learn a new skill! Everything from traditional Windsor chair making to contemporary willow sculpture and longbow making, or perhaps have a go at carving your own spoon! Advance booking essential.
There are many places in The National Forest to visit where you can meet craftsmen and woman at work. For instance, the Ferrer’s Centre for Arts and Crafts has framers, upholsters, bakers, potters, blacksmiths and painters. And of course, there’s also a tearoom to give you fuel for an autumnal walk.
Looking for terrifying treats this Halloween? There’s plenty to choose from in The National Forest. Visit the Halloween Spook-tacular at the National Forest Adventure Farm where you can explore the haunted house, go to Scare School, get broomstick training and pick your own pumpkin. 28-29 October. Book online to save 10%.
Alternatively, why not come and stretch your legs on a beautiful woodland walk at Cattows Farm? Afterwards, refuel with a tasty treat in the tearoom and then pick your own Halloween pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.
For the really brave at heart, there’s Family Halloween Nights at Conkers. Are you prepared to come along and walk in the haunted woods with all the ghostly ghouls, witches and trolls? 28,29,30,31 October. Advance booking essential.
Gifting a tree is your chance to add to the beautiful landscape of the National Forest. When you gift a tree, you are not just planting a tree, you are creating a memory, that will live in the landscape for years and years. Join others at an autumn planting event, always a fun, friendly and enjoyable experience in The National Forest! Advance purchase is essential to attend the next tree planting event on Saturday 25 November.
Combine a beautiful walk at Calke Abbey with a photography lesson. Bring your own camera and Calke’s volunteer photographers will give you hints and tips while showing you the best places to get some great shots. Ideal for intermediate photographers. 16 September 10.30-12.30. No booking needed. Free event (admission applies).
For children, accompanied by an adult, there’s also a ‘Kids with Cameras’ afternoon session (13.30-14.30).
Fireworks Night is a sparkling treat every year in the National Forest and this year is no different. At Conkers, on Saturday 4 November you can see one of the biggest displays in the Midlands. Come along from 5pm and enjoy a Bonfire night treat from the café. Show starts at 7pm. Book online.
For something quite different, check out the UK’s first and biggest 360 degree Fireworks display at Cattows Farm on Saturday 4 November. As well as a massive 55,000 fireworks, you can meet popular children’s characters, enjoy the fairground rides, and sample the live bar and food stalls. Book online.
A day just isn’t enough to fully experience autumn in the Forest, so if you can, why not stay? Without the summer crowds, there is a range of options to enjoy, from woodland lodges and luxurious glamping to B&Bs and farm stays. See the full range of accommodation here.
Whatever you get up to this autumn don’t forget to share your experiences with us by using the #forestlife and @NatForestCo on Twitter or tag us in on Facebook.