Enjoy autumn on the Harewoods Estate
The Harewoods Estate is a little gem of a place just to the east of Redhill. It is a collection of farms, woods and commons gathered together by a wealthy stockbroker in the late 19th century and it has changed little since. This is a place to nourish the soul, escape the crowds and simply reconnect with nature. Follow the paths, wander in the woods, survey the farmers’ fields and come back refreshed.
Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy this special place in autumn.
Savour the reds, russets and golds of autumn. In the woods, you’ll see the oaks, beeches, hornbeams and hazel trees all clothed in varying shades of yellow. Others, such as hawthorn and wild maple will be showing off their fiery red leaves. Don’t forget the berries either - hawthorn, guelder rose (look like glace cherries), elderberries and rowan berries.
Forage along the hedgerows
The hedges around the estate are often heavy with blackberries, glistening in the sunshine. Later on you'll find sloes on blackthorn bushes. Use them to make sumptuous sloe gin but watch out for the long spines!
Keep an eye out for the bright red rosehips berries, which make a delicious syrup for pouring over yoghurt, pancakes, drop scones, or simply vanilla ice-cream. Make a stock and use throughout the winter as a reminder of nature’s bounty.
In the woods, hunt under hazel trees and sweet chestnuts for the nuts. Hazelnuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Sweet chestnuts can also be roasted and nibbled, but they are most versatile than that. Grind them up and use them in stuffings, or flour for baking cakes.
Play among the trees
The woods on Outwood Common and near the Hornecourt Hill car park on Gayhouse Lane are leafy playgrounds in their own right. Get the family stuck into these activities:
- Climb a tree. Scramble up and see how far you can go!
- Collect fruits - nuts, acorns, berries. See how many you can collect and identify. Score extra points for the rare items - juniper berries, alder cones, wild cherry, yew berries. No matter how tasty they look, don’t eat unless you are sure they are safe - some can cause an upset tummy.
- Measure the girth. Put your arms around the trunk and see how big it is. How many family members have to join in to reach all around? Which is the fattest tree in the wood?
- Hunt for bugs. Examine the bark and see what creepy-crawlies are there. What sort of tree has the most in number?
- Bark rubbing. Take some paper and some crayons. Hold the paper onto the bark and rub to reveal the pattern. Which tree makes the most interesting pattern?
- Last but not least. Go kick some autumn leaves! It’s the ultimate feel good, mood-lefting stress buster!
Watch, and listen, for autumn birds
Autumn is a period when many birds become active again and as the leaves fall, they’re easier to spot. As you stroll see what you can find:
- Buzzards. You can often hear the cat-lie cries of buzzards far above you as they soar in the sky
- Kestrels. Easily identified as it hovers above the fields hunting for small mammals
- Jays. A fast flying bird, often seen as a bight flash with a hint of blue as it dashes through the trees collecting acorns for the winter
- Woodpeckers. The drumming of spotted woodpeckers in woods is unmistakeable. The chuckling ‘yaffle’ of a green woodpecker is also notable. They like to hunt for ants on grass, and will fly off when disturbed.
- Owls. As the light drops in the afternoon, you may catch some of the owls coming out to hunt. Look for the eerie whiteness of a barn owl, the chunky little owl or hear the haunting t’whit-t’woo of tawny owls.
- Winter visitors. As the season progresses and the temperature drops you may be lucky to see some of our regular winter visitors in the woods and open areas - bramblings, fieldfares and redwings. Look out for the dandy waxwings perching high chomping greedily on rowan berries or hawthorns