We walked out into a misty autumn morning. The plants on the lane verges were hazed with mist, their blue flowers sprinkled with droplets of water.
In the hazel copse, tiny hard green apples lay among the fallen leaves, rolling underfoot like giant marbles. Mist highlighted dandelion seed heads with tiny beads of water.
Yellow and gold beeches glowed further along the lane, above drifts of fallen copper leaves on the verge below.
Showers of golden leaves fell around us as we walked along the Kennet and Avon towpath. Lots of them were already floating on the canal like a flotilla of small boats, not at all screening hordes of ducks who had come in among them to be fed from one of the narrowboats.
The autumn-hued trees were reflected in the water, while silvery lichen spread in clusters across a log.
Further on, at end the walk, was a kingfisher dipping and darting along the far edge of the water, with bright ephemeral flashes of blue.
The Hampshire beech coppice is a scene of high grey trunks holding up a golden canopy. Beech nuts lie everywhere, crunching underfoot, and attract hordes of squirrels.
Glowing up from the grass on Hungerford Common was an almost hidden fungus, a beautiful scarlet with a sunburst centre. The sycamores edging the lane are a mixture of summer green against a background of autumn pinks and gold.
Autumn colour enriches the landscape of Devon’s Teign gorge, both on a large and on a small scale. Stretching ahead, the river Teign curves around jutting tree-clad headlands that mesh together into one long view of russet coloured trees, mainly oaks and beeches.
Rowan berries frame a tunnel-like path high up one of the slopes.
Out in the open, the endless view of golden trees is highlighted by more scarlet berries and sometimes by sentinel silver birches.
From high up on the Devon gorge the silver of the river Teign shows occasionally among the autumn trees. Once down among those and walking beside the water, it’s a more enclosed world, walking under the golden canopy with occasional views up to the granite headlands that tower like ancient castles against the skyline.
The trees along the river’s edge look down at their reflections, russet leaves drift and swirl down around us and float across the water, into the perfect pictures in it.
There was flurry of black and white wings, landing among the fallen tawny leaves on the grass of Hungerford Common. A startled blackbird flew up to the nearest tree, a robin paused to watch from the hedgerow. A jay, buff and blue with furled black-laced wings, vigorously continued to turn over the leaves, searching for acorns.
The wind was light, just shivering the woodland trees, but it was enough to bring down a shower of dried pine needles in the fir plantation. They lay in a thickening carpet across more brightly coloured leaves.
Across the common one single tree glowed yellow against a copse where the oaks and sycamores bore duller bronze leaves.
In the Hampshire woodland, a new hedge has been created in a curving sweep, instantly widening the path beside it. Part of the hedge has been laid from existing plants, part thickened with stems cut from other hazels, but the whole glowed lime green with summer leaves among the increasingly autumnal surroundings.
It’s a lovely time of year to see shapes in the woods, and today I spotted the fallen tree that looks just right for carving into a miniature Viking long boat.
The green of holly and ivy shows more clearly on the Hampshire common now. The shiny green of holly seedlings is conspicuous among the brown and gold leaf mould on the ground. Ivy arrowheads create distinctive patterns as they spread across the wet trunk of a lichen-encrusted silver birch.
A cluster of twiggy sticks makes a home for many of the Hampshire common’s smaller creatures. Now the leaves are falling onto the sticks, thatching the heap and increasing its insulation and interior dryness.
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