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.
Laden with soft rain.
Damp dogs and wellies
Rainbows shiver through a monkeys wedding.
Home to warm towels and tea.”
Bringing in the harvest, long country walks and exploring Chilterns heritage during Heritage Open House are just a few of my favourite autumnal things.
I heard on the grapevine that pickers were needed to bring in the Solaris harvest at Frithsden vineyard last month. 40 or so volunteers, including locals and “I missed it last year” regulars turned up on an expectant autumnal morning.
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 story of battles fought and lost in a far-off land and a horse’s heart buried in Latimer.
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!
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.
Valuable Rothschild treasure is reassuringly safe behind the pair of stout, boldly designed treasury gates at Waddesdon Manor.
Next up, a fabulous Chilterns winter.