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Norfolk Tourism Awards

21 places to see autumn colour in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 13:56 07 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 09 October 2018

The Lion's Mouth in Aylmerton, north Norfolk Picture: NITAYA SIRIKAN

The Lion's Mouth in Aylmerton, north Norfolk Picture: NITAYA SIRIKAN

Nitaya Sirikan

As the leaves turn from green to red and gold, East Anglia’s countryside is full of amazing places to see trees in all their glory. Here are 21 places where you can enjoy all the shades of autumn.

The Lion's Mouth in Aylmerton, north Norfolk Picture: NITAYA SIRIKANThe Lion's Mouth in Aylmerton, north Norfolk Picture: NITAYA SIRIKAN

As well as the areas listed below, other autumn sights highlighted or photographed by readers and Twitter users include Higham near the Suffolk/Essex border, a group of horse chestnuts near Norwich Road in Ipswich, the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo site near Woodbridge, a tree bursting with berries at Leiston ... and the list goes on!

1. Felbrigg Hall and the Lion’s Mouth, Aylmerton, Norfolk: The National Trust’s Felbrigg Hall estate includes hundreds of acres of woodland, with maples, sycamores, beeches and chestnuts, as well as the parkland and lakeside walks. The Lion’s Mouth is one of the most famous beauty spots, in the west of the valley, with a host of trees including beeches. Chris Lakey described this spot as “ridiculously beautiful.” The “Lion’s Mouth” name may have been inspired by the colour of the leaves in autumn, according to the county council’s Norfolk Heritage Explorer website.

An autumn tree at the National Trust's Felbrigg in Norfolk Picture: PAUL GEATERAn autumn tree at the National Trust's Felbrigg in Norfolk Picture: PAUL GEATER

2. Needham Lake, Suffolk: Covering more than 30 acres, this popular countryside leisure attraction includes a local nature reserve with a small woodland area and meadows. Nicola Warren chose it as one of her favourite places for a family trip in autumn. She said: “It’s a great place to gather conkers and cones. You can also build dens and play Poohsticks on the bridge.”

3 Sandringham Estate: As well as having 60 acres of spectacular gardens, with many beautiful trees, Norfolk’s royal residence is at the heart of the Queen’s private Sandringham estate. The area includes a 600-acre Country Park, which is free to visit, with waymarked nature trails and woodland paths to follow. The trees include many oaks and chestnuts, and the woods are full of colour at this time of year.

A carpet of autumn leaves at Tunstall Forest Picture: ANGELA WRIGHTA carpet of autumn leaves at Tunstall Forest Picture: ANGELA WRIGHT

4 Felthorpe Woods, near Taverham, Norfolk: Andy Russell chose this woodland area just a short distance north of Norwich as a great place to see autumn trees. As well as having many deciduous trees, this wood is also a great place to find sweet chestnuts. There are plenty of places to park. Nearby Horsford Woods is mainly coniferous.

5. Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests, near Woodbridge, Suffolk: Although there are large areas of conifers in these forests, there are also broad-leaved trees and heathland, so there is a range of colours to admire. Twitter user Angela Wright said: “Tunstall Forest is one of my favourite places in autumn. Great walks and cycle tracks.” Rendlesham Forest covers 1,500 acres, and has a wide range of facilities for visitors, including trails to follow and picnic areas.

Autumn colour in Christchurch Park, Ipswich Picture: Dr Codrin Tocca/Lighthouse Dental PracticeAutumn colour in Christchurch Park, Ipswich Picture: Dr Codrin Tocca/Lighthouse Dental Practice

6. Christchurch Park, Ipswich: You don’t always have to travel out into the countryside to see spectacular trees. Some of the largest and most ancient specimens in Suffolk are right in the heart of Ipswich. The 4,000-plus trees to see here include sweet chestnuts and oaks which are hundreds of years old, while the Friends of Christchurch Park estimate that the ancient yew tree near the Cenotaph has been there for more than 600 years.

7. Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich: Tim Hill recommended this park in the centre of Norwich via Twitter. Close to the Chapelfield Mall, it has a good range of mature trees and shrubs, so there is a great display of colours to admire. Trees include horse chestnuts, limes, planes and many others.

Leaves starting to change colour at Needham Lakes in Suffolk. Picture: NICOLA WARRENLeaves starting to change colour at Needham Lakes in Suffolk. Picture: NICOLA WARREN

8. Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds: Another Twitter user, Deborah Crelly, chose this 200-acre countryside park as her favourite place to see autumn trees. As well as native trees such as cherries, sweet chestnuts and oaks, the park includes a unique arboretum which has trees from around the world. These include Australian eucalyptus and Kentucky coffee trees from north America.

9. Burlingham Woods, near Acle: A lot of work has been done over recent years to manage this woodland, owned by Norfolk County Council, and keep non-native trees to a minimum. There is a mix of mature and more recent woodland. You can also choose between walks covering one, two or three miles.

The first signs of Autumn are beginning to show at North Cove Nature Reserve. Picture: Nick ButcherThe first signs of Autumn are beginning to show at North Cove Nature Reserve. Picture: Nick Butcher

10. Thetford Forest and Kings Forest: Although there are a lot of pines and heathland in Thetford Forest, it also includes some areas of beautiful broad-leaved trees for autumn colour. The quieter nearby Kings Forest also has acres of trees and sweeping heathland, and is another great place to visit in autumn. Twitter user Victor Shannock recommended visiting the beech trees on the Barrow side of Dalham, in the Kings Forest approaching Elveden.

11. Wivenhoe Park, near Colchester: Wivenhoe Park, which was painted by John Constable, covers 200 acres and has some amazing historic trees, including eight species of oak. The university has produced a Tree Walk guide to download for a self-guided walk. It says that all are welcome to enjoy the parkland, but asks for visitors to keep dogs on leads and clear up after them. Twitter user Barrie Morris recommended the University of Essex’s campus as a place to see trees in autumn, particularly mentioning the Icehouse garden.

A tree with autumn berries in Leiston Picture: TERRY REVELLA tree with autumn berries in Leiston Picture: TERRY REVELL

12. Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale, near Assington, Sudbury: This Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve has an interesting mixture of ancient and newer woodland, as well as meadows. If you’ve only previously visited to see the bluebells in spring, it is well worth returning to see the autumn colour. The mix of trees includes oak, ash and crab apples, and it is one of only a few ancients woods in Suffolk with wild cherry trees. There are walking trails and a picnic area.

13. Broomhill Park, Ipswich: This small park in between Valley Road and Sherrington Road was created from woodland sold to Ipswich Borough Council back in the 1920s. It is now a semi-woodland park with many fine trees, including historic oaks.

Trees starting to change colour at the National Trust's Sutton Hoo site Picture: MYRA LYNNE SANDIFERTrees starting to change colour at the National Trust's Sutton Hoo site Picture: MYRA LYNNE SANDIFER

14. Foxley Wood, near Fakenham: This Norfolk Wildlife Trust site is the largest remaining ancient woodland in the county. Its varied trees include the wild service-tree, whose leaves turn bright coppery-red in autumn. It also has brown berries which are very popular with birds - and the NWT has revealed they used to be a staple food for people, too! The woods are very peaceful and a great place to get away from it all.

15. Priestley Wood, Barking, Needham Market: One of the finest ancient woodlands in East Anglia, this Woodland Trust reserve has an amazing range of native trees and plants, including the hornbeam and the super-rare wild pear. It is well worth a visit, but it can be difficult to find parking locally.

The green at Higham in Suffolk. Picture: NINA FINBOWThe green at Higham in Suffolk. Picture: NINA FINBOW

16. North Cove, Barnby, near Beccles: Just a short distance from the Broads, this Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve includes wet woodland which is a sanctuary for many birds. There are also pools, grazing marshes and dykes, making up a unique habitat which is great to explore. There are walking trails, but the ground may be soft and wet underfoot.

17. Bacton Wood: Trees in this 280-acre wood, also known as Witton Woods, date back to Saxon times. Altogether there are 30 different trees, including ancient Sessile oaks, many of which are native, as well as conifers. Facilities include a picnic area and information board.

18. Sheringham Park: Amazing colours at this National Trust site include beeches turning yellow. The oaks, sweet chestnuts and specimen trees such as Japanese maple and golden larch also put on a good show. In autumn you can also spot hundreds of types of fungi, many of which are brightly coloured. The park is open all year, although the visitor centre is only open at weekends from November onwards.

19. Flatford, near Dedham: Constable Country is one of the areas to visit for the most beautiful red and gold trees, which inspired some of artist John Constable’s most famous landscape paintings. If you follow the Trust’s purple trail, you will be able to admire the changing colours of Orvis Wood.

20 Pin Mill Woods, near Ipswich: This wooded foreshore is another area where you can see beautiful autumn colours, taking in both trees and heathland, together with views of the River Orwell. If you fancy a seasonal ramble, there is a free two-mile “Nature’s autumn harvest” walk to follow on the National Trust website, starting and finishing from the car park close to the Butt and Oyster pub.

21 Brakey Wood, Hoxne, near Diss: If you’re looking for a lesser-known and newer woodland area to visit this autumn, this Woodland Trust reserve could be the answer. It’s a 15-acre site which was planted in 1999, and has a circular grassy path around it for easy access. There is a large sculpture of the Hoxne caveman within the wood.

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