What a wonderful summer it has been, with the inevitable 'hiccup' during August when the schools are on their long summer break.
Our splendid 'Indian Summer' finally seems to have given way to something more akin to autumn. Our final guided group holiday is under way in the Lake District, all of our 'self-guided' walkers have had their vacations and returned safely home and our final 'tailor-made' group of the season has returned to North America. We are busily finalising our 2015 programme.
This fantastic summer has left the hedgerows overloaded with berries. Our apple trees have been breaking under the weight of fruit and we have been inundated with raspberries, gooseberries, currants and strawberries. Blackberries, damsons and elderberries have all been abundant in the hedgerows and the sloes, whilst not around in the quantities of the others, have yielded sufficient for sloe gin! So we have reached the time of year for bottling and preserving and for making jams, jellies, chutneys, country wines and cider. One of my favourite times of year.
|The cider is brewing!|
The autumn is a great time for getting out for a walk too. The leaves are just beginning to change colour and, in the woods, spectacular fungi are beginning to appear.
|Chicken of the Woods fungus, Exmoor|
Exmoor is our particular favourite, especially in October and early November when the red deer 'rut' is under way and the hills and woodlands are alive with the sound of the bellowing of stags!