An autumn wander at Winkworth Arboretum

October 29, 2017

The picturesque landscape at Winkworth Arboretum near Hascombe in Surrey is a draw any time of year but especially in autumn. Maintained by the National Trust for 60 years, this hillside arboretum has a significant collection of shrubs and trees making it an ideal place to admire those magnificent autumnal hues. So much so we like to sneak in a couple of visits if we can. As luck would have it, POD and I ventured there just over a week ago when she had a rather well-timed inset day.

Winkworth Arboretum was created by Dr Wilfrid Fox in the early 20th century. He had a passion for plants which is evident whichever way you wander. In fact, come in spring and you’ll see the Azalea Steps awash with the most spectacular display with daffodils, snowdrops and bluebells aplenty. Autumn however is quite remarkable and the colours of the foliage really are quite stunning. We’re planning to head back again but it’s unlikely to be this weekend as POD is playing an orphan and a servant in a theatre production of Annie. I can imagine there’s an even more impressive patchwork of colour to be seen now given these photographs were taken a few days ago.

POD always enjoys the great outdoors and there’s more than enough to keep her occupied what with trees to climb, treasure to find and leaves to collect. We did pick do the Autumn Colour Leaf Hunt (50p) too though as that’s always good fun – there are reds, yellows, oranges and purples to find. We had planned on playing a leaf throwing game too but it had rained the night before so we embarked on a little chestnut football instead as we made our way down towards the one hundred year old boathouse. There are many different routes you can take at Winkworth Arboretum but I always find the boathouse and surrounding area is always a bit special. Apart from anything else, you get to head down via the Azalea Steps which are often bursting with colour. There are the most amazing reds around there too, always a favourite of mine. Other great places to seek out the colour at Winkworth Arboretum are on the edge of the magnolia wood and the eastern meadow.

We were particularly lucky on the day we went that it wasn’t too busy. We pretty much had the boathouse to ourselves. Aside from having a look around inside, the views are great and POD likes keeping lookout for the ducks too. She was thrilled to discover there’s a door beneath the boathouse albeit not for public use. We’ve never noticed it before but the door was open so she got to have a very brief peek inside – much to the surprise of the fisherman. Two of them were having their photograph taken so we headed past the wetlands and got to see them throw a line from the other side of the lake.

Having gone back on ourselves, not far from the boathouse is the Badgers Bowl. In the summer, it’s a great place to stop and have a picnic although we did have a pitstop on this particular occasion as the sun made an appearance. Plenty of colour to be seen here as we made our way upward to the viewpoint Winkworth Arboretum has. Its been increased in size now to accommodate more people and the views across the Surrey Hills rarely disappoint. Of course before we left we had to look for some more treasure, leaves of varying colours and chestnuts so shiny they looked like they’d been polished.


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