Friday 24 November 2023

A Break in the Forest of Dean....

....to enjoy Autumn's colours.
The Forest of Dean is an ancient landscape once used by the late Anglo Saxon kings, and after 1066, by the Normans, as their personal hunting ground.


The River Wye meanders through this beautiful landscape on its long journey from the mountains tops of Wales to its final destination in the Atlantic ocean. There are castles and abbeys to explore, and a huge variety of pathways for walkers - through the forest, besides the river, or high up on the hilltops.

View across the Forest of Dean to the Malvern Hills, and the Brecon Beacons.

Our journey there took us passed the Dutch Water Garden laid out in 1696 - 1705. The entrance gates have pineapple finials which in architectural terms have been a symbol of hospitality and welcome for centuries. 


Although closed until next Spring it is possible to still view part of the garden through the ornamental railings - all was looking peaceful, and serene. 
















All of the berries this year are very prolific but I have never witnessed such large clusters of holly berries before. Old wives tales say that we are in for a hard winter. However, there is no clear logic to that story - it is the Spring weather that determines whether there are sufficient insects around for the flowers to be pollinated, plus sun and warmth in early autumn to help the berries ripen.     

32 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful area! And wow, yes, that holly is just loaded with berries!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have what is known as a "lollipop" variegated holly tree which lives in a large terracotta pot, but it has very few berries, and even that has put on a show this year.

      Delete
  2. Hello Rosemary, I know we keep resorting to words like "stunning" and "magical" to describe your photographs and the places you visit, but we are running out of adjectives! Those holly berries are so abundant they look like a GMO food crop!
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jim - you comments always lift my spirits. My own feelings are that my photographs and blogging have deteriorated - age is catching up with me. You are correct, the berries this year do look as if they are a GMO food crop, but the birds are loving them.

      Delete
  3. My holly too is laden and makes a cheery view from the window. Lovely to see such beautiful autumnal colours. A perfect escape. B x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We feel fortunate to have so many great places to escape to which are relatively nearby. They make for a very easy get-a-way.

      Delete
  4. It's a lovely area. Only visited it once decades ago on a grand tour of hilly areas of Southern England but I did enjoy it. Plenty to explore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never visited during winter, but in the Spring, Summer, and Autumn the trees are always a joy to behold.

      Delete
  5. A late 17th century water garden sounds very peaceful and health-giving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The gardens lie very close to the R. Severn - it is a lovely spot to wander around. Climbing the small tower gives spectacular overviews of the water garden.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful colours in the scenes Rosemary, very pretty and the river is a lovely one.
    We say the same about the berries too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a very nice area to visit especially with the Autumn colouring.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful photos that show me an area I've never visited, though always intended to. There seem to be masses of berries on the hedgerows this year, though I've not seen many winter thrushes to feed on them - I think this avian flu has had a much more devastating effect than we imagine. I'm sure you must have had a wonderful break in such scenic country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Redwings and Fieldfares have hardly been seen in our garden this Autumn, but there are lots of small birds - Long-tail Tits etc in our garden hedgerow.

      Delete
  8. That's the fattest pineapple finial I have ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Rosemary, thank you for the beautiful photos! And a Dutch Water Garden sounds alluring - did you take more photos?
    As to pineapples I learned (if I believe it, though I doubt..) something bizarre in a TV-Quiz: in former time in England it should have been possible to rent (!!) a pineapple, they claimed - to show luxury as a center piece on your table.
    Can you imagine that - or do you know whether that is true?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Britta - I have never heard that about the pineapple. In the late 17th c when they were first brought to Europe they were considered to be very exotic but something only affordable by the rich. We have an antique silver table centre stand that we were informed was designed to hold a whole pineapple.
      I didn't take more photos of the gardens as they were closed until next Spring, but I have done a two part post following a visit to the garden during 2019. If you wish you can see here: https://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.com/2019/07/part-1-westbury-court-garden.html

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Rosemary! Come to think of it: pineapples in stone masonry as Tom (blogger from Bath) does restore makes also sense when we think of the luxury of that fruit.

      Delete
  10. I know the Wye has been having big problems, polluted like all our rivers have recently become, and that's what I've been associating with it for a while. So I am glad I saw your pictures which also reminded me of how beautiful this river, and its surrounding countryside, are. I loved the close up of the shrubs too and am glad you enjoyed your break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have not noticed the pollution in the Wye on our various visits but know from news reports that it has been badly affected by run-off from chicken farms etc - which has been a big turn off for me re: eating chicken.

      Delete
  11. I really enjoyed your autumn colour especially that wonderful holly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone is mentioning just how exceptional the berries are this year.

      Delete
  12. Beauty that impresses!
    Greetings. ๐ŸŒž

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, wow, wow! Beautiful!
    Love from a cold island & Titti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is misty and chilly here too now - winter is on its way.

      Delete
  14. A beautiful place for a break. Autumn colours add so much to the landscape at this season. It's a sunny day here, and has been for a week or so, but frosty in the mornings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At this time of year any sun is an added blessing.

      Delete
  15. You had a lovely break, Rosemary. Exploring along the Wye sounds exciting. (I searched how to pronounce “Wye”.) Interesting to know pineapple finial is the symbol of hospitality. Maples are nicely framed. Each leaf shows different color. I agree with your logic about the abundant berries.
    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yoko - the tree colours are falling rapidly and soon the branches will be bare. Winter is starting to show its face along with a frosty feel to the air first thing the morning.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted


“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh