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Holidays UK

Happy Holidays

 

Christmas is over and it's traditionally the time to put your feet up and start planning your summer holiday. Before you rush off to the travel agent and g Some do not use the diapers at all, for arousal, or bladder and bowel movements. The phrase buttered bun is sometimes used to refer to the owner of the orifice in question. Many men who like trans partners of any variety, known as tranny chasers, do not necessarily identify as gay themselves. Adult animation is genre of animation geared towards adults and sometimes teens. Bestiality is illegal in many countries. The Silent Duck, also called Duck-Billing, is the technique often used in which the person engaging in hand insertion shapes the hand to resemble indian celebrity porn a duck beak. Mammary intercourse is said by Alex Comfort to produce mutual orgasm in women with sensitive breasts , and it was one of the nine substitute exercises for penetrative sexual activities, as detailed in the Paradis Charnels of 1903. Lucky Pierre is slang for a person performing both receptive and insertive anal and/or vaginal sex simultaneously during a threesome, being positioned between the two partners. On May 27, 2010 the television program The Doctors discussed the topic with dozens of teens, parents, and professionals. The original definition of dogging and which is still a closely related activity is spying on couples having sex in a car or other public place. This may relate to fetishes such as voyeurism or cuckolding. Sexual relations between women have been illustrated as well as narrated, but much of the written material from the early modern period has been destroyed. Most soft crush fetishists avoid being placed under the same label as hard crush fetishists, believing that crush films with larger animals give the entire group a bad label. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality is expressed. The wife who enjoys cuckolding her husband is frequently called a hotwife, or a cuckoldress if the man is more submissive. ather armfuls of brochures covered in unrealistic photos of nauseatingly happy families in implausibly idyllic locations, why not consider for a moment the idea of holidaying closer to home? There are lots of advantages to 'staycationing' – no flight delays, no hanging around for hours in security queues at airports, no being crammed into tourist-packed resorts...

There's a host of options for great holidays in our region, whether you want a family holiday by the seaside, a cosy cottage for two in the countryside, an activity holiday walking or narrowboating, or a city break. Here are a few ideas...

Conwy Holiday Park

Hire your own home

If you're looking for a holiday with the privacy of your own home from home, but plenty of neighbours around – maybe with other children for the kids to play with, or somewhere with a bar and function room where you can enjoy socialising – a holiday park is the place for you. Parks come in all shapes and sizes from spacious, family-friendly resorts to small and intimate adults-only parks. You can choose from beach-side resorts, parks nestled in the foothills of the mountains or even parks on the edge of a city – whichever you choose you'll be in easy reach of plenty of attractions in the region. Many parks offer lodges and caravans to hire, and if you decide you love it, you can always buy a holiday home of your own!
For more inspiration check out Conwy Holiday Park, www.conwyholidaypark.co.uk; Firtrees Caravan Park near Chester, www.firtreescaravanpark.com; Thornley Leisure, who have seven lovely parks dotted around north Wales and Cheshire (www.thornleyleisure.co.uk); Morfa Lodge Holiday Park near Caernarfon (www.morfalodge.co.uk); and the luxurious Plas Coch on Anglesey (www.plascochholidayhomes.co.uk). And take a look at our holidays pages every issue – there's lots more inspiration and advice there.

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A little bit of luxury

If your idea of a holiday means someone else doing the cooking and making the beds, then obviously a hotel or guest house is for you. Want to explore the castles and mountains of north Wales? Maenan Abbey in the Conwy valley (www.maenanabbey.co.uk) is a historic country house hotel and restaurant offering luxury, intimacy and a warm, friendly welcome. . In nearby Deganwy is the cool and sophisticated Quay Hotel & Spa (www.quayhotel.co.uk) from where you can explore, or just relax in luxury at the spa and restaurant.
Mellington Hall in Shropshire (www.mellingtonhall.com) is in a perfect spot for exploring both the Shropshire countryside and the Welsh scenery over the border in Powys, while Chateau Rhianfa on Anglesey (www.chateaurhianfa.com) looks like some sort of fairytale castle out of a Disney cartoon, overlooking the Menai Strait with its own private beach.
For those who want luxury within easy reach of culture, shopping and nightlife, the Chester Grosvenor Hotel (www.chestergrosvenor.co.uk) is right in the middle of the city centre. You can explore the historic attractions, and then relax and revive at the luxury spa.
Active types who want to explore Snowdonia's attractions can choose the Oakeley Arms (www.oakeleyarms.co.uk), which is bang in the middle of the Snowdonia National Park. The hotel has en suite rooms plus self-catering cottages on offer.
Those looking for a true retreat can stay at the historic Gladstone's Library in Flintshire (www.gladstoneslibrary.org), which offers lovely rooms on a bed and breakfast basis. You can even learn while you're on holiday with one of the many courses that are on offer.

Take a slow boat

Our region is blessed with a number of canals, all with their own character and history and plenty of scenery and sights to discover. We've the Llangollen Canal in north Wales, the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire and Shropshire, the Montgomery Canal in mid Wales and the Cheshire Ring in Cheshire. And of course Ellesmere Port on the Wirral is the home of the Canal and River Trust and the National Waterways Museum, where you can find out everything you could possibly want to know about canal boating.
What could be more relaxing than put-putting along a tranquil waterway at a leisurely 4mph, enjoying the scenery and wildlife, with the kettle on in the cosy kitchen, the whole canal network open to you, and knowing that wherever you moor, all the comforts of home are there with you? Hiring a narrowboat is easy; you don't need any qualifications or licences: when you arrive at your chosen marina, you get a tutorial on how to power and steer the boat, and then you're off!
For more inspiration check out Cheshire Cat Narrowboats at Overwater Marina, where you'll find lots of information about narrowboating (www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk); or Drifters, who have a number of places you can hire boats from on both the Shropshire Union and Llangollen Canals (www.drifters.co.uk).

Take to the road

If you like the idea of travelling around, rather than being tied to one spot, but would prefer to be on solid ground rather than water, a caravanning holiday could be the thing for you. If you'd like advice about buying a caravan, check out Clwyd Caravans near Wrexham (www.clwydcaravans.com); here you'll find a range of caravans new and used on offer, plus a service and repair centre, a shop sellling all the accessories you could possibly need and, not least, plenty of impartial advice and help. There are lots of lovely parks and resorts in the region that are open to touring caravans, including Newnes at Ellesmere (www.thenewnes.co.uk) an adults-only park; and Tan-y-Fron near Dolgellau (www.campsitesnowdonia.co.uk) which also has luxury camping pods for hire and a bed and breakfast.

A cottage in the country

The seaside resorts, villages and countryside of Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire are lovely spots for a holiday, and there's a wealth of properties for hire by the day, weekend or week in these areas. Whether you're looking for a 14-bed property for a big family get-together, a cosy country cottage for an intimate holiday for two, or a chic, city apartment near the theatre, there's a variety to choose from.
Menai Holidays (www.menaiholidays.co.uk) have a range of cottages on Anglesey, the Llyn Peninsula and in Snowdonia, from properties for large groups, to luxury holiday homes with hot tubs or swimming pools. Sykes Cottages (www.sykescottages.co.uk) offer a variety of properties, based in areas where you can explore everything from castles to rugged countryside. North Wales Holiday Cottages (www.northwalesholidaycottages.co.uk) have farmhouses, apartments, cottages and townhouses on offer as well as truly remote getaways. Fancy a half-timbered Tudor House, or the gate lodge of a castle? Wynhdam Lettings (www.english-country-cottages.co.uk) have all sorts of quirky properties on their books.

 

 

 
 

Eat Healthy

Eat healthy and lose weight forever!

 

We all know that diets don't work – if you put yourself on a ridiculous, unrealistic eating regime, you may well lose some weight rapidly, but you won't be able to keep it up, and as soon as you start eating 'normally' again, you'll put the weight back on. The thing to do is to change what 'normal' eating is for you. When she needed to lose 4st, Stephanie Anne Lloyd found the only way to do it was to stop dieting...

 

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At the age of 65 I found myself a real pudding! I weighed 16st 10lb and with failing knees and hip was told to lose weight, so I researched the subject in depth. We all know no-one can live permanently on any kind of diet, plus most put the weight back on when they come off any diet they try.
The answer is that you have to change the way you eat permanently. That's what I did and four years later I have reached my goal having lost four stone. This is the story of how I accomplished this, kept the weight off and have never felt hungry.
Always drink a pint of water (still or sparkling) immediately before you eat
Change to smaller plates – it's psychological but it works
Cook all meals from scratch using ingredients you can recognise
Stock your cupboard with healthy quick-to-use ingredients – tinned mixed beans, tomatoes, fish, eggs etc – so you can knock up a quick meal in 10 minutes
Get rid of all temptation by clearing your kitchen of unhealthy items
Never buy salad dressings; make your own from olive oil, vinegar, garlic and spices
Avoid takeaways and ready meals – they're not called junk food for nothing
Ditch ordinary potatoes; change to sweet potatoes even for chips and roasties
Eat slowly and chew everything thoroughly. This produces digestive enzymes and allows time for signals to reach the brain telling you when you've eaten enough
Never eat anything three hours before bedtime except a milky drink and one dark chocolate square
Always get eight hours sleep
Only drink alcohol at the weekends; one 250ml glass of red wine is about right
Limit your intake of carbohydrates to no more than 15 per cent of your total consumption. Your plate should be 50 per cent vegetables or salad, 35 per cent protein, 15 per cent carbohydrates
If you drink tea make it green tea which is very healthy (zero calories)
If you drink coffee take it black with no sugar (zero calories)
Get a dog (rescue ideally) and walk it twice daily
Buy a FitBit watch and measure your steps, calories etc
Have a weekly treat (chocolate doughnuts from Sainsbury's are my choice)
Swap dairy milk for almond milk
Include protein in every meal to keep you feeling fuller for longer (fish, seafood, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, beans, nuts)
Snack on nuts, seeds, melon, root vegetable crisps, plain popcorn, celery, crudités etc NO DIPS
Try to make most of your five a day vegetables and not fruit which is high in sugar
Only roast, fry etc with coconut oil; it's cheap and superior to anything else
Only use olive oil cold. Never cook with it as it oxidises at low temperatures
Add spices to meals: tumeric, linseeds, back & red pepper, chilli, garlic, onions etc
Aim to lose weight gradually – between 1lb and 2lb per week so your body has time to adjust
Weigh yourself once a week first thing in the morning
Everytime I lost half a stone I would buy myself a non-edible treat such as a teddy bear (I collect them) so I had a tangible reminder of my achievement
I am now back to my comfort weight of 12.5st which was the level I felt really good at in my 30s when I did some glamour modelling, and now, at 70, I feel great! You can do it too!

 
 

New Year New You

Get up and get active

 

Don't bother with that gym pass that you'll never use – this year, opt to take up an exercise regime that's fun and different and that you'll still be doing come next Christmas

The secret to sticking to a new fitness regime – to keeping your New Year resolution to be a better you, to get healthy, fit and slim – is to make it fun. There's no point in signing up (and paying) for a year of boring, repetitive exercise classes that you're going to stop attending after the first three weeks.
Studies show that people who are 'externally motivated' – meaning they go to the gym because they're trying to look good for a special occasion – don't stick with it. Those who are 'internally motivated', who exercise because they love it, are the ones who stay in it for the long run. So, obviously, the secret is to find an activity that you love.
Luckily for Yattar Yattar readers, you live in a region where there's a host of fun, exhilarating and interesting options for getting fit and healthy, that will keep you motivated and going back for more. Here are a few ideas for some different activities that you may not have thought of, plus good reasons for doing some that aren't so unusual!

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Train your brain and your body!

If running mindlessly on a treadmill is not for you; if you want an activity that challenges mind and muscle, climbing could be for you. Almost anyone can rock climb – people of all ages, fitness levels and abilities, from children as young as five to people well into their 80s. You don't need to be super-fit, either – when it comes to rock climbing, good technique is more important than physical strength, although the more you climb the stronger and fitter you will become. Good footwork, body positioning and problem solving (that's the brain bit) , rather than brute strength, is what will get you up many climbs.
More good news is that climbing uses lots of muscles, both in the upper and lower body, from your back, abs and legs to your fingers, shoulders and arms. Plus all the reaching and stretching for holds improves flexibility and agility.
Over time, regular rock climbing can help develop concentration, determination and problem-solving skills. Rock climbing is a good social sport, too, because you'll be climbing with friends, schoolmates, colleagues or family. You have to be able to trust your climbing partners, so if you aren't to start with, you're sure to become firm friends.
If you'd like to give it a go, you can find courses for all levels and ages at The Boardroom Climbing Centre, Queensferry. Visit www.theboardroomclimbing.com or call 01244 537476.

walking NT

Get fit while you explore

'Fresh air and exercise' is the mantra of health freaks everywhere, and what could be easier than putting on a pair of shoes and getting out for a walk? Sadly, ambling down to the pub doesn't count – for walking to work you need to be striding out with purpose, ie doing 'moderate-intensity aerobic activity', raising your heart rate and breaking a sweat. Walking obviously exercises your leg muscles and it will also exercise your core.
If you don't have obvious places to walk on your doorstep, and aren't sure where to go, try visiting some of the local National Trust properties. Chirk Castle, Erddig Hall, Attingham Park and others have vast areas of parkland with walking trails that you can follow (or you can choose your own route), while Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire is a splendid place walks. Country parks such as Ty Mawr near Ruabon and Greenfield Valley Heritage Park in Flintshire have other things to discover on your walk, such as farm animals, railway viaducts and ancient monuments. Or head for Delamere Forest in Cheshire, where there's plenty of walking and wildlife spotting to be done among the trees. If you want to start out easy, and be sure of a flat walk, head for one of the many canal paths in the region – the Llangollen canal is a favourite, with its famous aqueduct, and the Shropshire Union has plenty of easy walking alongside it. Just don't take it too easy!

 

ready-to-ride

Two wheels on your wagon

If you like the idea of fresh air, but walking isn't fast enough for you, it could be time to get on your bike. Avoid the traffic and pollution by heading for a mountain bike trail – a great way to get fresh air, exercise and have fun.
Mountain biking is great cardiovascular exercise as it gets your heart pumping and your lungs working. It's great exercise for your leg and buttock muscles, obviously, and also strengthens your tendons. As it's non load-bearing (your body is being supported) it's particularly good if you're recovering from injury. Because you're sitting down (well, most of the time) pressure is taken off your joints, so you're less likely to suffer a strain injury.
For those who need the added motivation of companionship, mountain biking can be really sociable, too. It's a great activity to do with friends and family and can be seriously addictive! If you'd like to give it a go, but aren't sure about investing in expensive gear (like a bike, for instance) head for One Planet Adventure in the Llandegla Forest, where you can hire all the equipment you need and also do courses with friendly, experienced trainers. For more information visit www.oneplanetadventure.com

 

NWWC Slider Kayak 5

Whatever floats your boat

Need to exercise, but can't stand the thought of running? Can't imagine yourself in Lycra? Then a paddlesport such as canoeing or kayaking could be the thing for you. This is an activity that's suitable for people of all fitness levels and ability – there's something for everyone. Whether your aim is to end up tackling white water rapids or going sea kayaking, it's an activity that will use quite different muscle groups from other sports. It's also easy to learn – the basics can be mastered in a day or so, but you can have fun perfecting those skills and learning new ones for years.
Kayaking is great for weight loss, using up about 400 calories per hour. That means that four hours of paddling is going to burn up about 1600 calories. It's great exercise for the upper body, obviously, but in fact if you get your technique right, paddling is a good all-body workout. You need good, strong and flexible core muscles to twist and keep stable, and if you're paddling hard and fast enough, it's good for your cardiovascular system too.
If you're new to the idea of paddlesports, the ideal place to give it a go is at the National Whitewater Centre near Bala, with a white water rafting session with a group of friends or family. It's an ideal activity to inspire you and your friends to get back to being active in the outdoors. Bleddyn Lloyd of the National Whitewater Centre says: 'Some might think twice about icy river water at this time of year but we like to think of it as refreshing and exhilarating! And after a blast of white water, meeting up with fellow crewmates for a run on a damp spring morning will feel that little bit easier.'
You can choose from activities ranging from a one-hour rafting session to half a day in a two-person raft, but the favourite is the Full Rafting Session, a two-hour group activity for up to seven people per boat (multiple rafts are available).
For more information visit www.ukrafting.co.uk or phone 01678 521083

Get fit and make friends

For those who are less active – whether because of age or weight, or recovering from an operation or injury – regular exercise can be difficult. If you're still keen on the idea of joining a gym, the key is to find somewhere that offers a friendly, supportive environment; where you can be sure of getting plenty of encouragement and advice from staff and there's plenty of opportunity to make friends with other users. Take your time checking out gyms before you choose one. What's the environment like? Is it intimidating, a bit scary, or friendly and warm?
Active Life in Shrewsbury is a ladies-only gym with 10 specialist machines that form a complete workout for all parts of the body. 'It's an assisted sytem that's really easy to use,' says manager Sue Owen. 'Each chair exercises a specific area of the body, without putting any stress on the lower back or joints, so it's ideal if you usually lead a more sedate life. It's great for people who find regular exercise difficult. Plus, it takes just 30 minutes to do, and there is no need to wear special gym clothing!'
As well as the exercise system itself, Active Life also has the Healthy You slimming club, where you'll meet plenty of like-minded people and can get lots of support and information, tips and recipes to help you with reaching your ideal weight.
For more information call 01743 588033 or visit www.activelife-plus.co.uk

Get your skates on

With just a hint of retro and guaranteed to take those of a certain age back to their childhood, roller skating is a super fun way to get fit. But if the idea of going round and round in circles doesn't appeal, and you're looking for something sociable as well as challenging, joining a roller derby team is a great way to stay motivated.
Invented in the US, the sport is great for both mental and physical fitness. Skating is intense exercise and derby moves are very precise so it's great for concentration. You'll learn skills that go way above just skating – to play for a team you'll need to master going backwards, turning, stepping, one-foot skating and much more, so it's mentally challenging while being great fun. Obviously being a team sport it's a great way to meet like-minded people who will give you plenty of moral support and keep you motivated.
Fancy giving it a go? Evolution Roller Derby in Shrewsbury are looking for new members, male and female, and offer fun and friendly 'newbies sessions' on a Thursday night at the Grange Sports Centre. To find out more visit www.evolutionrollerderby.co.uk

Ten top tips for fitness success

1. Do it for yourself. If you're exercising because you think you should, rather than because you want to, you won't stick to it. Find a workout you love so you'll keep it up.
2. Take it slowly. If you try to do too much too soon, you'll at best end up sore, at worst injured. Take it easy to start with.
4. Mix it up. Keep your regime varied so you don't get bored.
5. Take a friend. If someone else is depending on you to be there, you're less likely to duck out of a workout. Studies show you'll also work out longer with a friend.
6. Make a habit of it. Your workout should be just as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth.
7. Ditch the guilt. So what if you missed the gym last week and and ate a family sized bar of chocolate over the weekend? It's done and gone, and now is now. You have a chance to get back into your routine today.
8. Be realistic. You're not going to lose a stone in a week. Aim for something that's achievable as a first step. For instance, increase your workout schedule from two to three days a week, or exercise for 15 more minutes each time.
9. Keep are record. Start a fitness journal or use an app to record your progress so you've got a tangible record of how far you've come
10. Celebrate! Lost a pound? Starting to see muscles you didn't know you had? No matter how small the gain, you deserve a reward.

 
 

Autumn Colour

Autumn colour

 

As summer comes to an end, the landscape around us changes, and the trees and hillsides begin their autumn display. It’s one of the most wonderful things about our countryside, this remarkable show of colour. But if you spend most of your life in a city or town, it can be difficult to know where to go to witness this amazing natural phenomenon. We choose some of the best spots in our region to find autumn colour, whether you want to take a country walk or drive to an awe-inspiring view…

 

 Delamere Forest

 

We are lucky to have lots of woodland in this country, which ranges in age massively, from long-standing forests where our ancestors hunted for their food, to modern-day non-native plantations which have been managed and worked to provide materials for building and paper. We also have a variety of types of woodland – different trees like different types of soil, terrain and climate, so depending on where you go and what type of woodland you find, you’ll get different displays of colour. 

Head for the mountains of north Wales and you’ll find upland woods of oak, ash and birch, while in the valleys of Shropshire you’ll find native lowland woodland, and of course in Cheshire’s country parks and grazed areas there are wood pasture and parkland woods. Among these are probably the most precious type of woodland: our ancient woods, which support more than 200 rare and threatened species of wildlife.

Individual trees are also important features, often defining local landscapes, and bringing together communities. One example is the Lonely Tree at Llanfyllin – the majestic, 200-year-old Caledonian pine was a prominent local landmark, and when it was blown down in the gales of 2014, the local people got together and tipped 30 tonnes of soil over the roots so that any intact roots can still function, and the tree will continue to live – if forevermore lying down. It was even a finalist in this year’s Tree of the Year competition.

To find woodland sites near you, visit your local wildlife trust website (visit www.wildlifetrusts.org to find it) and the Woodland Trust at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

 

Cheshire Autumn from Stormy Point Alderley Edge

 

Discover autumn colour in…Cheshire

Perhaps the best-known woodland in Cheshire is Delamere Forest, which is actually the largest area of woodland in the country, covering 972 hectares (2,400 acres). You might think of Delamere as a pine forestry plantation, and indeed it is managed by the Forestry Commission (England) but in fact it contains a good mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees, has a rich history, and is a great place to go and see autumn trees in colour.

Delamere means ‘forest of the lakes’ and it was once part of Mara and Mondrem – massive hunting forests created by the Norman earls of the 11th century. They once covered 60 square miles! Nowadays, the forest is a popular place to go walking, cycling and horse riding. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/delamere

Those up for a hike should head for Alderley Edge – the wooded escarpment is brilliant for walking and at its highest point offers amazing views across the Cheshire plain and the Peak District, not to mention Macclesfield Forest, all of which looking stunning in autumn.

More formal places to see autumn colour, and to discover the delights of some not-necessarily-quite-so-native trees is at arboretums, specially planted ‘tree gardens’. Lovell Quinta Arboretum, at Swettenham, covers 16 hectares and has a stunning collection of trees, including an avenue of red twigged limes and more than 75 species of oak. It is jointly owned and managed by the Tatton Garden Society and the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Visit www.tattongardensociety.org.uk.

Jodrell Bank is obviously famous for its Lovell telescope, but did you know there is also an arboretum there? The Granade Arboretum was planted in 1971, and the Planet Path through the trees is designed to take you on a walk that reflects and explains the size of the solar system and earth’s tiny place in it. This is fascinating in itself, but of real interest in the autumn is the amazing display of colours, especially from the collection of crab apple trees and maples. Visit www.jodrellbank.net

 

The Shropshire Hills Late Autumn by Jordan Mansfield

 

Discover autumn colour in…Shropshire

The Shropshire Hills are home to important woodlands – many are ancient or contain remnants of ancient woods. This is a lovely area for a drive, a bike ride or a walk and you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere that doesn’t offer views of lovely autumn colour. 

The National Trust-owned Carding Mill Valley is a lovely spot for a drive, where you can see the trees changing colour – and it’s not just the trees, either: the hillsides are covered with heather and bracken which provide an amazing display through late summer and autumn. It’s a great place to stop for a picnic or go for a short stroll. Until the end of September you can get a shuttle bus that takes you around the scenic areas; an even better way to enjoy the scenery – visit www.shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk. Or thread your way up the Ironbrige gorge – the birthplace of the industrial revolution might not sound like the sort of place to go and see trees and nature in all its glory, but the wooded gorge and Benthall Edge are spectacular in autumn.

More energetic explorers can head for the wooded limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge, where, as well as beautiful trees, you’ll find far-reaching views, an abundance of wildlife, and the remains of old quarries and limekilns. The wooded slopes of the Wrekin are threaded with paths where you can explore the woodland, see the beauty of the trees and discover an Iron Age hillfort at the top.

Rectory Wood and Field, tucked between Church Stretton and the Long Mynd, has woodland walks as part of a landscape influenced in its design by Humphry Repton. Several  paths explore this ancient woodland where you can discover a wide range of species. Clun Valley, meanwhile has rich woodlands on either side – best known are Bury Ditches and Clunton Coppice, which is a Shropshire Wildlife Trust reserve.

For those with children who aren’t likely to be impressed with colour-changing leaves, Arley Arboretum and Gardens at Bewdley offer a great compromise. While you’re admiring the display of specialist trees and colour on the way, the kids can do the Dinosaur Trail and find their way through the maze of hornbeam trees. Visit www.arleyarboretum.co.uk

Walcot Woods near Bishops Castle is part of Lord Clive of India’s orignal Walcot Estate and is now managed by the National Trust. The oak trees here are veterans – more than 400 years old, and Walcot Hall hotel has an arboretum containing a variety of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that is open to the public daily. Visit www.walcothall.com. 

 

Discover autumn colour in… Wales

Wales, of course, is full of spectacular woodland of a variety of types, from the upland woods of north Wales to the densely wooded valley bottoms of mid Wales. The difficulty here is deciding which ones to visit!

Native oakwoods are found in the upland areas of the north and west, such as Coed Hafod y Llyn in Snowdonia. Here you’ll find lush ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens. These woods are usually mainly sessile oak, but also home to birch, hazel, rowan, holly and hawthorn, all offering wonderful colour in autumn. These woods have plenty of history too – although they may feel ancient and untouched by man’s hand, many are actually coppice woods, shaped by people over the centuries as they used the wood to make charcoal.

You don’t even have to get out of your car to witness beautiful displays of autumn colour in Wales. Take a drive up the Conwy Valley to Llyn Crafnant (described as ‘one of the most breathtaking views in all Snowdonia’) and see double the colour as the hillsides and trees are reflected in the lake, or simply wind your way up the Sychnant Pass for stunning views. 

The Dyfi Valley in mid Wales is famous for its green mountains – which turn a variety of shades in autumn. Take a drive along the valley road and admire the colours of the Dyfi Forest. A gentle walk stopping for a picnic among the beech trees of Tan y Coed near Machynlleth is a delight, or stop by the river at Foel Friog and admire the colours of the oak trees. Or take a drive into the Berwyn mountains to see Pistyll Rhaeadr and not only do you get views of an amazing waterfall - the densely wooded gorge is a riot of colour in autumn too.

Marl Hall Woods, near Llandudno Junction, is a Woodland Trust reserve made up of ancient semi-natural woodland with dazzling autumn colour. You also get great views across the Conwy Valley and there’s lots of historical interest here too. On the Menai Strait, Nantporth, a North Wales Wildlife Trust reserve, offers the best of both worlds, being both coastal and woodland.

Dolforwyn Woods, at Abermule in Powys, is a mixed woodland bursting with wildlife that is looked after by the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. There has been woodland on this hillside for centuries and although many native trees were cut down to make way for plantation, today there’s an interesting mixed woodland supporting a range of plants, lots of fascinating fungi and spectacular colours. There are also dormice here!

Also well worth visiting are some of the National Trust estates, which have extensive parkland with ancient trees and areas of woodland. The estate at Chirk Castle near Wrexham is just one example, full of ancient trees, 70 per cent of them oak, and with some unique veterans among them. Look out also for the the butter yellow colour of the lime tree avenue, the orange, yellow and white berries of the mountain ashes and the rich russet colours of the flowering cherries. On 21st October you can even do a guided walk with the head gardener, focusing on autumn colour. Further north, Bodnant Garden has more than 100 champion trees and the autumn colour in the recently opened Far End Garden is well worth seeing. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

 

Help to save our woods

Thousands of years of land management have dramatically reduced the UK’s woodlands, but the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust, who look after lots of woodland nature reserves, are working to maintain these vital eco-systems sympathetically. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive, and you can help: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust or the Woodland Trust and you could be involved in anything from taking part in traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals. 

Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org or www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

 

The science bit

What makes trees leaves change colour? Why are some red and some orange?

Leaves contain three pigrments: chlorophyll (green), carotenoid (yellow, orange and brown) and anthocyanin (red) . As we all learnt at school, chlorophyll and sunlight are what cause photosynthesis to happen, which is how trees turn carbon dioxide and water into glucose – their food, basically – and oxygen, which is, of course, what makes our air breathable.

Chlorophyll and carotenoid are in leaf cells all the time during the growing season, but the chlorophyll covers the carotenoid – that's why summer leaves are green, not yellow or orange. Most anthocyanins, meanwhile, are produced only in autumn, and only by some trees, like maples, which is why their leaves go particularly red.

As autumn comes, trees need less food, and they respond to the decreasing amount of sunlight by producing less and less chlorophyll until they stop altogether. When that happens, the carotenoid already in the leaves starts to show and we get our annual display of yellows, oranges and browns. 

 

Own your own woodland

Inspired to buy your own woodland, or maybe you’ve space to start one from scratch? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Those of us who live in rural, wooded areas are used to seeing ‘Woodlands for sale’ (or ‘Coedwig ar werth’ in Wales) signs dotted about, and both woodlands.co.uk and the Woodland Trust can offer all sorts of help and advice for those looking to buy their own shady spot. In fact, the Woodland Trust deliberately plants young woodland and then puts it up for sale – visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/woodland-for-sale

If you already have land, and like the idea of planting trees on it, again, the Woodland Trust can help – their MOREwoods scheme provides financial and practical support for those who want to create new woodland. The trust invite anyone interested in planting trees to discuss their ideas with them, and if your project fits and you plant the trees, they’ll contribute 60 per cent towards your project costs. They will visit you to discuss your ideas and check your land is suitable, and once you've agreed a planting/maintenance plan and finances they’ll even sort and deliver your trees.

Why do it?

There are plenty of reasons for planting woodland - you can help wildlife flourish, create a secure supply of firewood for yourself and generations to come, help to keep our air breathable, and, of course, create somewhere beautiful and relaxing for people to visit.

 

 
 

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