In October, the vivid greens of Britain’s woodlands are replaced by reds, golds and oranges. These spectacular autumn colours are complimented by a host of other natural wonders: salmon begin to run, overwinter birds arrive on our shores and deer prepare for the rut. It’s a month of harvest, a time to read books, and the perfect conditions for long lunches is cosy country pubs.
We’ve stumbled across some spectacular photography while putting together the October issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine – here are a few of our favourite images to celebrate the month of October.
Glen Torridon, Scotland
Liathach and Loch Clair, Glen Torridon, Scotland ©Getty
We needed something dramatic for our front cover to sum up the arrival of autumn. This shot of Liathach and Loch Clair in Scotland’s Glen Torridon is the perfect shot, its mountains, woods and pristine loch superb inspiration for autumn adventures in the countryside.
Salmon run, Scotland
Salmon attempt to leap up the fish ladder in the river Etterick in Selkirk, Scotland ©Getty
Salmon were once abundant across Britain, their epic migration a wonder familiar to everyone, but numbers have plunged in recent decades.
Buttermere, Cumbria, England
Buttermere Valley in autumn ©Getty
Discover golden larch trees and regal evergreen pines on a journey through Buttermere Valley in the Lake District National Park.
Saffron harvest, Cornwall, England
Picking saffron in Cornwall ©Justin Foulkes
Brian Eyers revives a lost tradition, growing the world’s most expensive spice on slopes above the sea in Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula
Sycamore Gap, Northumberland, England
Sycamore Gap, Northumberland ©Getty
Few sites are more iconic of rural Britain than this solitary sycamore tree rising from the crumbled stonework of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park.
Avocets, Devon, England
Avocet pair in feeding formation ©Getty
There’s one superstar species that draws plenty of people to the Exe in Devon: the avocet. This dainty wader, with its striking, pied plumage and upturned bill, was once described by Chris Packham as “the Audrey Hepburn of birds”, and it is undeniably attractive. Being the iconic logo of the RSPB, the avocet is also familiar to most bird lovers.
Loch Tay, Scotland
Loch Tay, Scotland ©Getty
A tall silver birch waves her burnished gold leaves under a crown of Scots pine on a tiny loch island in Tayside. The colours are vivid, the strong reds of the beech trees tangling with the russet branches of the pine.
Gypsy encampment, Essex, England
Gypsy encampment in Essex, c1899 ©Bridgeman Images
For more than 500 years, Gypsies have roamed Britain, yet they are still often cast as outsiders. Curious about the lives of his Gypsy ancestors, we set off to explore the stopping places where they once camped to find out about Gypsy life past and present.
Red deer, nationwide
Magnificent red deer stag at dawn ©Getty
Britain’s deer populations are expanding, yet most of us see them rarely as they are secretive woodland dwellers. During the autumn deer rut, they are much more noticeable due to their need to mate.
Blackjack Cottage, Glen Coe, Scotland
Blackrock Cottage©Drew Buckley
Around 50,000 people walk the West Highland Way every year, but in the month of October you have a better chance of getting this romantic wilderness to yourself. A three-hour ‘there-and-back-again’ walk to Ba Bridge starts opposite the impossibly picturesque walkers’ hut Blackrock Cottage, at the entrance to Glen Coe. Look out for eagles, grouse and deer.