Out There column

Ingrid in one of the hides at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve.

Ingrid in one of the hides at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve.

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This week I write in praise of autumn and its many moods.

After getting rather irritated by the early onslaught of Christmas promotions, I thought I’d explain why I think we should relish the delights of season instead of constantly looking forward to events that are weeks away.

To fully appreciate the wonders of autumn you’ve got to get out there. This autumn has been exceedingly warm so it isn’t even a necessity to wrap up like an Eskimo.

I went to Devil’s Bridge near Kirkby Lonsdale on Sunday with my husband Mark.

We walked from Devil’s Bridge into the town, taking in the splendid views of the River Lune and majestic trees.

The copper, gold and silver leaves glowed in the mellow light. Ruskin’s View at St Mary’s churchyard was a sight for sore eyes and we basked in the warm sunshine. Bells were pealing from the exquisite Norman church – I couldn’t have imagined a more peaceful place to sit and enjoy the autumn.

The day ended with a trip to Leighton Moss RSPB Nature Reserve at Silverdale where the BBC had been doing live broadcasts of its Autumnwatch programme for the past week. We met former Visitor artist and keen birder, Jon Carter, who now works as a senior membership development officer for the RSPB.

Jon told us that he’d met Autumnwatch presenter, Chris Packham, several times and that he was a great bloke who always had time for other people. Jon added that the show had attracted many new visitors to Leighton Moss and that he’d managed to sign up a good number of new members.

We visited three of the hides.

It was a magical experience as the reedbeds were suffused with a golden light and shy deer came out to feed. Thousands of starlings swarmed in the air as dusk descended; truly an autumn day to remember.