‘Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.’ Albert Camus

Changing colours in the trees, the crackling of leaves underfoot and different scents in the air, Autumn is a season for the senses. Although the temperatures may feel as though they’re dipping after our Indian summer, there’s a comfort in reuniting with a favourite jacket, pulling on your boots and striding out in these autumn days.

Kicking your way through piles of leaves, foraging for blackberries in the hedgerow and leisurely cycles along leafy lanes are perfect weekend activities for all ages during these gold and orange-tinged days. And it’s a great time to pack up sandwiches, a flask of hot tea and a warm blanket and head out with the family to enjoy one last family picnic before the days start to get chillier.

The Nene Valley countryside is just stunning at this time of year so why not walk a route that you’ve yet to tick off?

How about walking a section of the Nene Valley Way as it follows the route of our picturesque river? You’ll find new views to enjoy and maybe a cosy pub or tearoom to enjoy at the end of it. The children will enjoy collecting pine cones, conkers and acorns, as well as leaves of all shapes and sizes along the way.

Nene Park in Peterborough is an ideal location to appreciate the new season by taking leisurely afternoon’s stroll watching out for wildlife on the lakes and on the river. If you’d like to find out more about the natural world here, then why not join one of the monthly social walks with a Nene Park Ranger discovering a different area of Nene Park each time.

Or how about spending a peaceful hour on a wildlife cruise? Being electrically-powered means passenger boat the Whyndham moves silently through the water so those onboard can enjoy watching undisturbed wildlife. Swans, geese and other waterfowl are happy to swim alongside as the boat glides along on Overton Lake and the River Nene. Take your binoculars and with luck you’ll spot herons, kingfishers maybe even an elusive otter! A member of the Nene Park team will be onboard to ensure you don’t miss a thing!

Find dates of these cruises and other events and activities this September and October, including half-term events especially for children at https://www.nenepark.org.uk

Northants Wildlife Trust say that autumnal changes have been observed early this year and wildlife migrations are already taking place. In many ways it is the busiest time of year for natural world and a great time to visit one of our many local nature reserves. Look out for winter visitors like fieldfares, redwings and many kinds of ducks, geese and wading birds as they arrive in the Nene Valley from colder locations.

For a nature-based day out, head to the Nene Wetlands Nature Reserve, a unique one square mile of wild and man-made habitats managed for both wildlife and people. You’ll find the visitor centre on the Boardwalk at Rushden Lakes. There’s plenty here to help children engage with nature, including a Discovery Play Area Little Bug’s Club. For details of activities and events, head to https://www.wildlifebcn.org/nene-wetlands

If you love gardening and colourful borders and specimen plants are more your scene, then Castle Ashby and its beautifully tended themed gardens is the place to go. Set in the heart of a 10,000-acre estate, the 35 acres of extensive gardens are a combination of several styles including the romantic Italian Gardens, the unique Orangery and impressive Arboretum. Open all year round, there’s no better place to observe the changing of the seasons. https://www.castleashbygardens.co.uk