Winkworth Arboretum is the only Arboretum in the National Trust’s portfolio, and has been maintained by them for the past 60 years. Created in the early 20th century by Dr. Wilfrid Fox, it is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and shrubs, many of those rare.
Located in the Surrey countryside near the town of Godalming, much of the Arboretum is planted on steep slopes down to the shores of Rowe’s Flash Lake at the bottom of the valley. There are many woodland trails covering the large property, some with apt names such as Spring Walk and Bluebell Wood most suited to (yes, you guessed it) spring, but given the time of year I had come to visit for the autumn colours.
New England in the fall has always been on my bucket list but I’ve not quite made it yet, so what better alternative than heading to an Arboretum in October to try and get some visual understanding of what to expect.
Needless to say, it’s a lovely place to while away a few hours. We started on our walk heading towards to the Bluebell Wood until we reached the Viewing Platform looking down over Badgers Bowl and the hills across the valley.
Heading down the steps from here down to Badgers Bowl and some of the autumn colours become apparent. Blazing reds and oranges, with a scattering of leaves carpeting the floors thanks to some recent storms.
Walking across Badgers Bowl the route heads towards the Rowe’s Flashe Lake and a lovely little timber boathouse, offering fantastic views over the water.
We chose to take a walk around the lake into Rowe’s Flashe Meadow (before realising that the trail didn’t actually go all the way around the lake)! I’m glad we did though, after a short but heavy rain shower, the clouds cleared, the sun came out and offered some great views of the colourful woodland opposite.
Heading back around the lake and up Azalea Steps (spectacular in the spring apparently), we wandered around The Bowl – the section of woodland in the photographs above with the most intense concentration of autumn colour. With the weather being quite windy on the day that we visited, sometimes it would be cloudy and then intermittently sunny. Every time the sun did appear, it felt like someone had turned up the brightness, the sunlight reflecting on the autumnal leaves was beautiful.
We noticed while walking around through the trees, every now and again a strong smell of burnt sugar – similar to candy floss, which was slightly confusing given there were no kids (or adults) in the vicinity eating candy floss. Turns out that the Katsura Tree has a smell of burnt sugar in the autumn. Amazing!
Back up to the top of hill and a stroll back through the woodland, the ground littered with horse chestnuts, we decided we had earned a quick cuppa and a cake before heading off.
I am definitely tempted to head back to Winkworth Arboretum in the Spring. With the temptation of Spring Walk, Bluebell Wood and the Azalea Steps, how could I resist!
Winkworth Arboretum, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AD