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Autumn glory - 25 places across East Anglia to see amazing trees, fungi and more

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 September 2019

The footpath near the Granary in Sudbury Picture: MATT BYHAM

The footpath near the Granary in Sudbury Picture: MATT BYHAM

Matt Byham

If you're looking for the best places to see trees full of red and golden leaves, conkers and fungi, East Anglia has a host of beautiful spots. Here is a selection of 25 to try, from well-known parks and forests to a few hidden gems.

A beautiful autumn morning at Fairhaven woodland and water gardens. Picture: ArchantA beautiful autumn morning at Fairhaven woodland and water gardens. Picture: Archant

As well as all the places highlighted in this list, there are also endless other beauty spots around the region where you can go wild about autumn.

Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge: Autumn is one of the best times to visit this popular National Trust site, which has recently reopened after a multi-million pound revamp. Its woodland walks are full of colour, and the season is also ideal for archaeology, so you can see the ongoing work in the Garden Field. Tracy Excell chose it as one of her favourite places to visit "for all the beautiful colours of autumn and the added crunch underfoot of the woodland floor."

Autumn flowerbeds in the Arboretum, Christchurch Park. Picture: DAVID VINCENTAutumn flowerbeds in the Arboretum, Christchurch Park. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Brandon Country Park and Lynford Arboretum: Covering more than 30 acres, this park has a huge range of woodland, parkland and heathland, with several self-guided walks to follow. It is especially beautiful at this time of year, when it is full of colour. Fi Stacey chose this as her favourite place to visit in autumn, saying: "Brandon Country Park is pretty. I think it is a gem of a place." Nearby Lynford Arboretum is known for its collection of colourful autumn leaves and fungi.

Minsmere: The RSPB reserve at Minsmere is famed as a unique, rich wildlife habitat, with a host of birds set to visit over the autumn and winter, including wigeon, snipe, a host of waders and bearded tits. But the reserve is also a wonderful place to see autumn colour. Volunteer RSPB wildlife guide Charles Cuthbert said: "In the woodland areas, the berries are a great attraction to birds like thrushes and redwings." He also highlighted the fantastic range of colourful fungi, including the striking spotted fly agaric. One of Minsmere's most famous autumn attractions is the red deer rut. This takes place from late September and through October, and is one of the most popular wildlife spectacles in the UK. Nearby Dunwich Heath is also a great area to see a wealth of wildlife in autumn,

Sutton Hoo in autumn. Picture: TRACY EXCELLSutton Hoo in autumn. Picture: TRACY EXCELL

Thornham Walks: This site in rural north Suffolk is open daily, including woodland to explore as well as parkland and farmland. As well as colourful trees, you might spot autumn fungi and nuts along the way. Lucy Jones of The Kings Arms, Haughley, said: "Thornham Walks is perfect for a walk in the autumnal leaves, and loads to keep the little ones happy."

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham: Twitter user Jan Chambers chose this as her favourite autumn spot, saying: "Fairhaven Gardens is always beautiful in the autumn." The 130-acre organic garden is open all the year round, with nearly four miles of woodland pathways, including ancient oak trees and beeches. Special events coming up include a guided tree walk on October 20 and an autumn guided walk on November 17.

Fly agaric fungi under birch trees at Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERTFly agaric fungi under birch trees at Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERT

Smockmill Common: This local nature reserve at Saxlingham Nethergate, a few miles outside Norwich, is a great place to spot varied and colourful fungi in the autumn, and also has a mix of fen, woods and grassland. Twitter user Sarah Rochester chose this as one of her favourite places to visit, along with Thornham Walks.

Christchurch Park, Ipswich: There are more than 4,000 trees to see in this park right in the heart of town, including oaks and sweet chestnuts which are centuries old. David Vincent spotted some exotic additions to the park's plants this autumn. He writes: "Walking through the Arboretum, I was amazed by the transformation of a flowerbed close to the park gates on Henley Road. It was more Kew Gardens than a typical autumn scene."

Red deer hinds and calves at Minsmere. Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERTRed deer hinds and calves at Minsmere. Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERT

Beatrice Avenue and Felixstowe Seafront Gardens: The Suffolk resort of Felixstowe has a number of places well-known for their colourful trees and foliage. Stephen Rampley of Visit Felixstowe said: "The beautiful tree-lined Beatrice Avenue puts on its annual show of yellows and reds as you drive into town." He also recommended the award-winning Felixstowe Seafront Gardens, which have many late-flowering shrubs and red berries, and the woodland of the Grove in the town.

Grapes Hill Community Garden, Norwich: Community gardens around the area are becoming increasingly popular, and Jill Watkinson got in touch on Twitter to say this Norwich garden was looking very autumnal at the moment. It is a community space which is open from 9am to dusk daily, with trees, fruits, flowers, herbs and some pieces of community art.

Archie Newland at Thornham Walks Picture: LUCY JONESArchie Newland at Thornham Walks Picture: LUCY JONES

Lavenham to Long Melford railway walk: These historic villages are in one of East Anglia's most beautiful areas. Bethany Whymark writes: "The old railway line between Lavenham and Long Melford is at its best in the autumn, I've always thought." You can download a walking trail between the two, along the old rail line, from the National Trust website.

Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse: There are beautiful mature trees in this country park near Norwich, which you can admire as you take a walk around the lake. Huw Sayer recommended this, and said his favourite thing to see "has to be the changing colours of the beech leaves in the woods along the chalk ridge to the south of the broad."

Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds: Twitter user Anthony Tyler chose this National Trust site near Bury St Edmunds as one of his favourite places to visit during autumn. The trust advises following the Albana walk, which includes colourful maples, oaks, chestnut and beeches, to see the best of the trees.

Lynford Arboretum. 
Picture: Sonya BrownLynford Arboretum. Picture: Sonya Brown

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 - watch out for the beeches approaching Elveden.

Wivenhoe Park, near Colchester: You can download a Tree Walk guide from the University of Essex website to follow a self-guided trail taking in some of the most notable trees around the park and campus. The park, which was painted by John Constable, has many historic trees, including eight different species of oak. For more details, visit the website.

Burlingham Woods, near Acle: You can choose between walks covering from one to several miles at this landscape of woods and orchards, owned by Norfolk County Council. There is a mix of mature and more recent woodland. with lots of colour, including trails around land where Burlingham Hall stood before its demolition 50 years ago.

Autumn colours starting to appear on the Valley Trail from the Ballingdon end in Sudbury Picture: MATT BYHAMAutumn colours starting to appear on the Valley Trail from the Ballingdon end in Sudbury Picture: MATT BYHAM

Water meadows and Valley Trail, Sudbury: There are many places around Sudbury where you can see glorious colours in autumn, including the riverside meadows, which are the oldest continuously grazed pastures in East Anglia, and the Valley Trail. Keen photographer Matt Byham said: "My favourite place would be the water meadows. Or if you're walking up towards Rodbridge via the old railway line known as the Valley Walk, there are plenty of trees there."

Thursford Wood, near Fakenham: Some of the oaks in this Norfollk Wildlife Trust woodland are believed to be more than 500 years old, meaning they are among the oldest in East Anglia. It also has an excellent display of autumnal fungi and a rich range of wildlife, with ponds and insects.

Brandon Country Park. Picture: Jason WhichelowBrandon Country Park. Picture: Jason Whichelow

Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge: Although there are large areas of conifers in these forests, there are also broad-leaved trees and heathland, ensuring a range of colours to admire, with varied walks and cycle trails. Nearby Tunstall Forest is another good place to visit in autumn.

The Walks, King's Lynn: You can enjoy autumn colour right in the heart of town at this beautifully restored historic park, with its hundreds of mature trees. The Avenues, which were planted between the 1840s and very early 20th century, include horse chestnut trees as well as limes and planes.

Autumn fungi in Holt Woods. Picture: LYDIA TAYLORAutumn fungi in Holt Woods. Picture: LYDIA TAYLOR

Bradfield Woods, near Bury St Edmunds: These woods filled with several species of autumnal fungi including ink caps and fly agaric. Several different walking trails are on offer, ranging from three quarters of a mile to five miles.

Mousehold Heath, Norwich: It's unusual to have such a large area of natural woodland and heathland just a short distance from Norwich city centre. During an autumn stroll you can admire the changing leaves on the mature native trees and the colourful fungi.

Autumn conkers Picture: VISIT FELIXSTOWEAutumn conkers Picture: VISIT FELIXSTOWE

Holt Country Park: This park is situated on the edge of the Norfolk coast area, and has a good number of native broad-leaved trees as well as Scots pines. Follow any of the trails and you will see an impressive range of autumn colour.

Foxley Wood, near Fakenham: The largest remaining ancient woodland in Norfolk, this area has a huge range of trees, and a thick carpet of leaves beneath your feet. A great place to get away from it all and linger in the autumn shade.

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

Felbrigg Hall and the Lion's Mouth, Aylmerton: This National Trust site includes hundreds of acres of woodland, with maples, sycamores, beeches and chestnuts, in addition to the parkland and lakeside walks. The "Lion's Mouth" is one of the most famous beauty spots, and its name may have been inspired by the colours of its autumn leaves. The National Trust has other sites across the area which are also great to visit during autumn, including Blickling Hall and Anglesey Abbey, which both have dazzling displays of autumn dahlias.

Knettishall Heath Country Park: You can take a choice of trails through the woods, meadows and heath beside the Little Ouse River in this country park, and you might spot many unusual wildlife species along the way. Semi-wild Exmoor ponies graze the heath, and you might also spot a Muntjac deer.

A beautiful autumn morning at Fairhaven woodland and water gardens. 
Hosta leaves.

 Picture: ArchantA beautiful autumn morning at Fairhaven woodland and water gardens. Hosta leaves. Picture: Archant

-Have we missed out your favourite place to see autumn landscapes in East Anglia? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk

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