Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An Enchanted Evening : Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Most years we go to Westonbirt Arboretum for their winter event - they create a one way trail, around a mile long, along which lighting and other effects are used to turn an already incredible walk into a magical journey through the dark.

Gorgeous at any time, but especially when the seasons change, we go several times each year.  Though only half of the estate is dog friendly, it's still accessible for Smiler's wheelchair, and there are always plenty of families churning up the mud along with us!  I have vibrant memories of autumn wanderings, with Eli and the kids, around and about the winding paths, wellies on feet, to jump in puddles; coats to ward off the wind ...  hunting sweet chestnuts, piles of leaves of sienna and golden and umber and copper and scarlet and rust ...  basking in the sharp spring sunshine, with buds on branches, and dandelions aplenty ...  many recollections to bring a smile.

The winter trail ...  it's beautiful.  Some of the lighting effects are so bright, so vivid, as to be almost psychedelic - that tree on the right - the colours land there by way of a projector, so as you watch the shapes shift and merge into one another.

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The purple lights do an incredible job of highlighting the wintery nakedness of some of the once majestic trees, now bereft of their regal bounty of leaves, and the networks of shining branches look almost like the patterns of blood through the circulatory system - not something one tends to think of as beautiful, but striking nonetheless!

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And here, the more delicate bare branches, appearing shrouded in mist, the shapes created seeming almost alive against the backdrop of the dark dark wood.  Softer colours, highlighting the intricacies of individual boughs, leaning against one another, moving in the breeze.

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And lastly, bubbles!  Who can resist bubbles!

So there you are, just few of the gorgeous images all around the Winter trail at Westonbirt Arboretum.  Have you ever been?  If you're within a reasonable distance, I would highly recommend it, with the only caveats being to wrap up well (extra layers, wellies if you have them and perhaps a change of clothes for any of your little people who might jump in a puddle deeper than they are, or for all of you if you are particularly car-proud); take a torch (not really needed for the trail, but my kids certainly delight in waving them around in the dark at every possible opportunity); and perhaps some cash for a hot chocolate afterwards (always a great way to end a walk in the seasonably  chilly British weather!)

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If you enjoyed reading this, you might like to take a peek at this :
(just click the picture)

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  1. Hi Lucas. Fantastic photos (especially the blue Acer near the drumkit). Glad you had a great evening. From Ben and the team who install the show. Merry Christmas

    1. Hi Ben, thank you so much for taking the time to check out my post, and leave such a lovely compliment! It's a great family event every year, and I'd love you to pass on our thanks to all your team. I hope you have a great Christmas, and we'll be back to Westonbirt in the new year!


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