Being slapped in the face by a wet leaf means only one thing: autumn has come to the Chiltern Hills.

The harvest is in, and we enter that golden period between summer and the onset of autumn. Typically a period of calm. The countryside is slowing down. Not the butterflies, they are still busy around our feet, as we walk through the pale yellow grass.

So many spiders and an unfamiliar morning coolness, warm days snatched, hedgerow harvests, crows surf the frequent gusts and two stags are glimpsed through the Ashridge trees, tussling, preparing for the rut. Migratory birds have begun their epic journeys south and the geese are once again practicing ing their twice daily V formations over the house.

“Vapour breath
Sparking berries,
Laden with soft rain.
Damp dogs and wellies
Rainbows shiver through a monkeys wedding.
Home to warm towels and tea.”

Don’t smoke in bed!

A dot on the Chilterns landscape; somewhere you wouldn’t even pass through as the busy Leighton Buzzard road now bypasses the village. Yet this tiny settlement has one of the most remarkable and historically important features, tucked away inside a Grade I Listed 15th century cottage at No.132 Piccotts End.

A visit to Piccotts End
Tucked away pre-Reformation murals

Charming Chess Valley

A story of battles fought and lost in a far-off land and a horse’s heart buried in Latimer

Cooling off in the River Chess

Penn House

I love the rain, but as the water-soaked overhanging branches slapped the car roof, I edged alone Mop End Lane, wishing I’d left home earlier. I couldn’t be late for the guided tour of Penn House conducted by Earl and Countess Howe no less!

Tourism trophy envy

Thameside in the autumn

Itching to get away from my desk and take a walk to enjoy a warm autumnal afternoon, it was a tweet that spurred me into action to head over to Cliveden Reach, between Cookham and Boulter’s locks in the southern Chilterns, the fabled and sweetest stretch along the River Thames.

Peeking through the shutters

Waddesdon in a Room

Valuable Rothschild treasure is reassuringly safe behind the pair of stout, boldly designed treasury gates at Waddesdon Manor.

The Rothschild five arrows
The Waddesdon Treasury gates open to reveal the treasures within

Beautiful Barton Hills

Just when you think you’ve enjoyed most of the beauty that the Chilterns has to offer, two special locations come along in the same week. The Amaravati Buddhist monastery and Barton Hills National Nature Reserve.

Scenic view
Beautiful views from Barton Hills

Next up, a fabulous Chilterns winter.