Summer may have come to an end but it’s not quite time to hibernate yet! Autumn in the Pewsey Vale is a glorious time for walking and cycling.
From the greenness and leafiness of summer, over the next few weeks, as the nights get longer and the temperature drops, the trees start to shut down for their winter hibernation. The photosynthesis process that makes the leaves green during spring and summer ceases in preparation for winter, when the days just aren’t long enough or sunny enough for the process to work. As if by magic, other colours, such as yellow and orange appear (from the glucose still in the leaves) and as a result, give us the annual spectacle that we enjoy.
Autumn is also a time for blackberrying and an ideal time of year to do hedgerow foraging for things other than blackberries. Look out for crab apples and rosehips, but always be careful that you know exactly what it is that you are picking and eating. If you aren’t going to use the fruits, then please leave them on the hedges for the wildlife – it’s their winter larder on which they rely. There is some great information and guidance in Hedgerow by John Wright (River Cottage Handbook number 7).
We’ve picked out 3 routes for you from our website where you will see some magnificent autumn colours.
This is a lovely walk running between Pewsey village and Wilton Windmill, via the Pewsey Heritage Centre and Crofton Beam Engines, using the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath in the main. There are lots of small copses that you will pass through en route, but keep an eye out at Wilton Water for the relatively recently planted copse, where the trees are becoming mature now and making an impact on the landscape.
If you continue on past Wilton Windmill in an easterly direction, you will go through Bedwyn Brail which is beautiful in the autumn. Why not visit Great Bedwyn for a cup of tea at the Post Office and some locally made lardy cake?
This fabulous walk takes you through Gopher Wood for some spectacular autumnal colour. Once at the top, you will be able to view the contrast between the tree colour and the land in the valley for miles around. You can park your car by St Nicholas Church in Huish.
The Grand Avenue in Savernake Forest is beautiful at any time of year, but not to be missed in its autumnal glory. This peaceful walk is a fairly level route that is just full of wonderful and ancient trees, including the Big Belly Oak (rather sadly right on the edge of the A346, but still very beautiful). The beech trees are breathtaking.
Other things to do in the Pewsey Vale: