Just for Fun Plants and Nature

Blogtober Day 16 – Halloween Trail at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Today, the 16th of October marks the middle day of Blogtober, and in fact the middle day of Autumn (if you count Autumn as the three months of September, October and November). And what better day for it – the sun is shining, the air is crisp and the trees are at their Autumnal best – boasting leaves in many shades of red, orange and yellow.

An Autumnal walk at Hillier Gardens

It was the perfect morning for a walk around the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens with my mum. This is a huge arboretum that is planted with a wide variety of plants and trees from all around the world. There are formal borders, a pond, woodland and almost every type of landscape / garden you can imagine.

I knew that there would be plenty of colourful trees to photograph, but there was an extra bonus when we arrived. They were currently running a Halloween trail! This was designed for children, but in the spirit of Blogtober, we decided to do it anyway.

The Halloween Trail

Halloween Trail leaflet

The trail consisted of a map showing a route with 8 different activities to take part in. Here are just a few of the things we got up to:

The Bat Cave

The bat cave - a ring of willow with ragged black sheets at the entrance, and a toy bat overhead

This was ‘the bat cave’! It was full of cobwebs and bats that we had to count.

Cobwebs on the wall of the bat cave

Witch’s cauldron

The witch's pot - a board with a witch and a cauldron painted on it, with a hole through it above the cauldron

We had to throw corn-on-the-cobs into the cauldron! It was pretty fun. My mum managed it first time but it took me quite a few goes!

Giant witch

A giant witch made of fabric, netting and leaves

We came across this giant witch, and I think she was my favourite part of the trail. She looked really funny and I liked all the detail. The activity was to add leaves and twigs to her cloak.

Digging for bones

A bed of soil with a fake gravestone in it. It is surrounded by trowels to use to dig for bones.

This was definitely the most gruesome part of the trail. We had to dig to find the bones of a skeleton (not a real one!). We each found a few bones and I found the skull! Afterwards, we buried them again for the next people to find. We got very muddy hands doing this activity!

Winning a prize

To get a prize at the end of the trail, all we had to do was spot the witch’s cat hidden somewhere around the trail, and tell reception what colour the cat’s bow was. We succeeded in doing this, but I’m not telling you the answer in case you do this trail yourself! Our prize was a Cadbury’s flake.

Autumn leaves

After completing the Halloween trail, we walked around more of the gardens. We followed another map to find the ‘plants of current interest’ and there were lots of Autumnal gems. Here are some photos that I took of Autumnal trees:

A small tree with yellow Autumn leaves
A tree with red and orange Autumn leaves
A tree with a mixture of red, orange and green leaves. There is grass and a bench in the background.
A large tree with leaves turning from green to yellow. The ground is covered with Autumn leaves.
A large tree with red Autumn leaves, surrounded by other green trees and plants.
Trees with yellow and red Autumn leaves
A tree with bright yellow Autumn leaves

And finally an impressive display of fungus:

Clumps of brown fungus on grass

Cafe and shop

We rounded off our walk with a delicious bowl of carrot and coriander soup in the cafe. Then we walked back to reception and had a look around an art exhibition that was there. Finally, we had a look around the gift shop and garden centre. It was a lovely way to spend the morning and lunchtime.

A great place to visit

If you live in Hampshire or you ever travel nearby, I highly recommend visiting the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. It is a beautiful, peaceful place and there is always plenty to see at every time of year.

If you visit this October, I recommend the Halloween trail for adults and children alike!

Have you ever been to the Hillier Gardens before? Or a similar place? Let me know in the comments.

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Blogtober Day 16 - Halloween Trail at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens


  1. This looks like a really fun day!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It was! 🙂

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