Autumn in England 2022

Our rapidly warming climate is pushing the English autumn colours further and further ahead. As of 25th October 2022, Abbots Wood in East Sussex was still on the green side. I always book a holiday in late October, based on happy childhood memories of the New Forest, but the climate was much cooler back then. The autumn colours now peak in early to mid-November. Unlike parts of North America, where fall can last just a few weeks, ours continues well into December. Fortunately, the village of Little Horsted has a collection of non-native ornamental trees Ginkgo, Japanese Maple and Witch Hazel, along with native European beech. These species tend to fall earlier than, say, English Oak, Elm or Hornbeam. 

Little Horsted is about the same distance from Lewes as Lewes is from Brighton, and the bus journey is not too long. The bus takes me on part of the route my family took from Kent, where I was born, as we moved down to Brighton. My mother said the car stopped in Ringmer, because I needed to be fed. It was a bitterly cold month and snow was on the ground. After photographing the stunning Maple and Witch Hazel leaves, I crossed the road and wandered into the East Sussex National golf course. There's a woodland adjacent to the fairway. Fallow deer can be seen (and heard) and mushrooms pop up from the ground. I spent a very happy and warm afternoon in the village and watched the sun go down from the churchyard.

A minor mishap nearly scuppered my second outing — at home, I thought my camera batteries were being charged, only to find out, at the last minute, that the cable had a fault and the batteries were nearly empty. It was a good thing, that I am well-prepared for emergencies. I own several power banks and for the first time, I charged up my camera batteries en route. I put a torch in my camera bag in the summer and will add the power bank and a spare USB charger. 

My third outing took me to a rocky, heavily wooded landscape two hours from Brighton. Since the clocks went back on 30th October, I set off in mid-morning to maximise available daylight. The walk takes me along a narrow country lane, past streams, oast houses and alongside fields of horses. Fallow deer can be heard rutting in the distance. Several years ago, I took a series of pictures with the setting sun illuminating pine trees, but this is no longer possible. Quick growing birch trees now obscure the view. For the same, overgrown location, I used a slow shutter speed, while panning the camera up and down to create intentional blur. I stayed at home on Thursday, as an unprecedented 80.3 mm of rain fell in 24 hours. After record-breaking heat and summer drought, I've seldom seen horizontal, torrential rain, driven by gales in the UK. But, the next day had perfect conditions for a return visit. Away from the sandstone cliffs, walking deeper into the woods, and across a meandering stream, the afternoon sun bathed a glade in autumn light. For early November, the trees were very green — another sign of the fall being pushed further into the calendar.

 

Japanese Maple Leaves in Autumn 

  Japanese Maple Leaves in Autumn 

  Japanese Maple Leaves in Autumn 

  Witch Hazel in Autumn 

  Ginkgo biloba 

  Beech Leaves in Autumn 

  Autumn beech blur 

When my mother sees this picture, she will say, "This is what the world looks like before I put my glasses on in the morning". Although my eyesight lacks the 20/20 clarity of my early childhood, when I could read my teacher's answers upside down from the back row, I'm lucky enough, not to have needed glasses in adulthood. The 500mm lens I used for the purpose of reaching into tree branches lost focus, and I liked the result.

  Parasol Mushrooms 

  Birch woodland in autumn 

  Beech woodland and rocky landscape in autumn 

  Mature beech tree and rocky landscape in autumn 

  Green Autumn 

  Autumn Forest - Mid-November 

  Beech Woodland and Cliffs in Autumn 

  November on the Rocks 

  November on the Rocks

 

The green woods had finally turned red and orange by the time I returned on Sunday 13th November. The weather felt like mid-October. In 'cooler' years, peak colour would be now, but we've still got a few days before this happens in 2022. In the future, I will be photographing autumn colours in late November or early December. This marmalade orange scene is my favourite image of the autumn. Let me know which images you like best in the comments, and be sure to share this page.

Other than moving, if only I could travel to this rocky sandstone woodland every week. It's my joint favourite Sussex location, alongside the roe deer meadow. In 2023, I ought to book time off from November onwards to get the best colour. Meanwhile, I've got over 500 bulbs to plant in my mother's garden — alliums, bluebells, crocus, daffodils, fritillaries, irises, snowdrops and tulips. Winter is my least favourite season, but I always look forward to the new year and the first snowdrops!

Comments

NanuMash said…
I loved reading your blog. I experienced your journey to take photos. Photos are beautiful. I am not sure how can I pick open photo from them. I really love the leaf photos. Your blog gave a good starting for my day !
Alan MacKenzie said…
Thank you for your lovely comment, NanuMash. Great to hear my photos made your day!

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