A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Saturday 30 October 2010


The Romans introduced the sweet chestnut into Britain and it is a delicious autumn crop particularly roasted. Chestnut wood is used for fencing and furniture.

Friday 29 October 2010


The autumn colours of the Acers are at their peak with leaves now starting to fall fast.No doubt one good gale will finish this spectacle for this year!

Thursday 28 October 2010

Maize Stubble

The tall fields of maize are now harvested and at the moment are popular feeding areas for birds gleaning the few remaining seeds before the stubble is ploughed in.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Autumn Walks

When we are fortunate enough to have a bright sunny day this is a beautiful season for a walk in the woods.
The ash trees have already lost their leaves but the beech and oaks are a spectacularly colourful sight.

Monday 25 October 2010

Winter Frost

Temperatures are dropping as winter approaches and the fields were white this morning contrasting with the golden colours of the autumn leaves

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Long Barrow

There is plenty of evidence in our area that we are not the first to enjoy this landscape.
Hill forts and ancient burial mounds are found at the top of the escarpment like this neolithic barrow around 5000 years old.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Rose Hips

These hips are the fruit of the dog rose,a common hedgerow flower.Hips were collected to make a syrup rich in vitamin C ,useful in the winter months when fresh fruit was hard to find.

Friday 15 October 2010


Maize in the Cotswolds is cut for animal feed and has a high yield for minimum input.It extends the silage making season into October.
It is an impressively large crop and causes problems when planted over footpaths but farmers usually cut a path through.

Monday 11 October 2010


The fruit of the horse chestnut tree the conker is now ready. The tree is native to Greece and Albania and was introduced as a decorative species much loved by children for the nuts to play the game of conkers.
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Friday 8 October 2010

Hollow Lime Tree

The life of a tree is all in the outside wood and bark and if you ever doubted this just look at this tree totally hollow with the heartwood burnt out but still carrying a remarkably healthy looking crown of branches and leaves.
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Thursday 7 October 2010

Acer autumn colour

We are fortunate in the Cotswolds to have the Westonbirt Arboretum with its fantastic collection of trees and now is the time to see the spectacular colours of the Japanese Acers.
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Tuesday 5 October 2010


The Whitebeam berries are ripe now and can be used for jam or jelly.
The tree thrives on the thin limestone soils of the top of the Cotswolds. Leaves are white on the underside and old weather lore says that rain is on the way when the underside shows.
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Monday 4 October 2010


Sloe berries are the fruit of the Blackthorn, a deciduous prickly shrub which grows in hedgerows in this part of England. Today when out for our autumn walk we saw someone gathering sloes. Apparently for use in Sloe gin they should be picked when ripe, traditionally in late October or early November, after the first frost of the winter. Sloe gin is made by pricking the berries with a fork (silver preferred) and adding gin and sugar and steeping them for a good length of time until a lovely red liqueur is produced.

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Sunday 3 October 2010

Autumn Migration

Hirundines are migrating south for the winter and we saw a flock of several hundred swallows and housemartins from our house today pausing on their way to warmer climes.
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Saturday 2 October 2010


Looks like a Christmas picture but actually Holly berries are at their peak now and will be much harder to find later as most will be eaten by the birds
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