Autumn Colours – Marks Hall Estate, Essex

The weather has been colder and more unsettled this week with dull, wet days and little in the way of sunshine. November has definitely brought with it a change which we are all loathe to accept after our long and glorious run of mild, sunny days. The countryside, however, is powerless to resist or complain;  and is finally taking on the mantle of Autumn, rather than clinging onto its Indian Summer. Leaves are now falling, albeit slowly, giving them time to shift the colour palette around us from green to golds and crimsons. Nature has an impressive knack of gathering all its ‘players’ into line with an effortless grace and I was lucky enough to witness this at Marks Hall Estate …





Marks Hall Estate near Coggeshall in Essex is one of Lisa’s favourite places and she has been keen to share it with me for some time. We planned a trip for Thursday and were rewarded with the best weather of the week, with a glorious sunny morning of blue skies and scalloped clouds…

The plan was to capture some autumnal scenes and colours in amongst the gardens, lakes and arboretum, and the conditions were perfect for a mix of landscape shots and close-ups of the trees, shrubs and perennials. It was bright enough to negate the use of a tripod and I loved the freedom of using my 100mm macro lens hand-held for the plants and trees. The landscape shots are taken with my 24-105 lens. It was possible to achieve fast speeds with small apertures due to the sunny conditions, which was perfect for detailed macro shots.


Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Bush)

Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Bush)


The Gardens and Aboretum are set in an area of 200 acres,  with a Walled Garden overlooking a lake fringed by Cornus alba.




This red dogwood is a perfect foil for the white bark of the Birch trees, which are a particular feature of Marks Hall Estate.  They are Himalayan Birch with the most wonderful paper-thin peeling bark and horizontal scars.



This is what a trunk can look like close up …



One of the volunteers told me that the gardeners have to wash down the bark each spring, presumably to clean off any decaying bark or algae, making the trunks white and pristine again for the new season…

The combinations of colours and textures around the gardens were so impressive in the clarity of the autumn sunlight, that there was a potential photograph at every turn.



Pampas Grass






Mirrored Lake



I love the way that the swan has broken the mirrored surface,  with the concentric ripples giving a texture to the image …




This plant in the Walled Garden looks more like an exotic underwater creature with tendrils …



As we moved into the Arboretum, the wonderful autumnal colours where all around us –  rich reds, golds, yellows and browns. There were Acer,  Cypress, Liquidamber and other North American tree species – including an Oak that I had never heard of which looked more like a magnolia tree.

I have tried to capture the splendour  of colours and textures in the following images -:





Reptile-like bark

Reptile-like bark



Cercis canadensis – Forest Pansy



Bark & Bracken






Acer x conpicum ” Phoenix”


Acer Carpet

Acer Carpet



Purple amongst the browns…






Gold – tinged toadstools



Nyssa sylvatica – Tupelo



Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress



Nyssa sylvatica



‘Insect wing-like’ achenes


Liquidamber &  seed pods

Liqidamber & seed pods


The gorgeous sunshine and perfect lighting conditions made my visit to Marks Hall a very special one – and I am really pleased with my photographs. I am determined to visit regularly in order to capture all the amazing plants as they keep in tune with the seasons at Nature’s behest …

If you are interested in visiting yourselves – please see














One thought

  1. Pingback: Marks Hall Aboretum | Quiet Dear, I'm Blooming Within

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