Autumn highlights in the garden and estate

As summer winds down, Acorn Bank enters a calm yet colourful time of year. With apples to be collected in the orchard, woodland walks down by the watermill and vibrant grasses and trees to spot in the garden, there are plenty of opportunities for peaceful moments away from the crowds. Acorn Bank is open 5 days a week until the end of September, then weekends in October.

Senior Gardener Heather Birkett checking the fruit in the apple orchard

The apple orchards

Take a stroll through Acorn Bank’s orchards in September where the trees are dripping in fruit ready to be harvested. There are 175 varieties of apple here, including rare, local varieties such as the ‘Lady’s Finger of Lancaster’, ‘Keswick Codlin’ and ‘Forty Shilling’. You can even take home some of the fruit to try for a small donation – head to the apple sale in the Dovecote.

Senior Gardener Heather Birkett tending to a pear tree at Acorn Bank

The Babycham pear tree

Our gigantic pear tree ‘Blakeney Red’ was donated by the company who make Babycham directly from one of their orchards. This tree produces a huge number of pears every autumn, which are the variety for making perry cider. Keep an eye out for another noteworthy pear tree which is espaliered (trained to grow flat against a wall) on the Dovecote wall and is very old. The variety is ‘Bellisime d’Hiver’.

Early morning sunshine on the front of the mansion at Acorn Bank

Autumn colour

If you’re on the lookout for autumn colour, the mature cherry trees overhanging the Sunken Garden turn vibrant shades of yellow and orange between September and October. The large Smoke Bush in the Walled Garden is also worth finding as it turns a fiery red at this time of year. Grasses and Asters keep the borders bright.

A view over the beck in the woodland at Acorn Bank

Woodland walks

Explore the woodland and the working watermill down by the beck (it’s open weekends in September, 11am-3pm). Follow the paths through the woodlands to experience a wide variety of trees adorned in every shade from green to yellow to red. As the woodland leaves begin to fall and carpet the ground, hidden views are revealed.

Buzzard in flight

Wildlife on the estate

By mid-September the first flights of geese begin to arrive for the winter, both the pinkfooted and Greylag varieties – and these can usually be heard before they are seen! Fieldfares and redwings also arrive and can be spotted on any hawthorns and rowan trees on the estate. On a sunny day, chances are you’ll see a buzzard or two circling overhead. Down by the beck, look out for dippers and otter tracks down by the watermill. If you’re quiet you might even spot a roe deer grazing by the old Gypsum mine or a red squirrel up in the tree brances.