Studley Park is a large estate on the River Skell to the west of Ripon most famous for the magnificent Fountains Abbey and water gardens (National Trust) which are worth a visit, but in autumn the open access Deer Park in the north of the estate is well worth a look, not only for the deer rut but also for a touch of autumn colour…
There was plenty of autumn colour around The Lake on my visit with a good carpet of fallen leaves under the broad-leaf trees. The tea room by the northern entrance to Fountains Abbey made a pleasant lunch stop – and quite a nice photographic subject too! The fishing tabernacles by the weir spilling from the water gardens into The Lake also added a bit of architectural interest to the autumnal scene.
When the conditions were right – namely diffused light from an overcast sky and no wind – autumn trees on the opposite bank made a good choice for photographing reflections in the still water.
As well as autumn colour, there are lots of deer to be seen during the rut in autumn, so if wildlife photography is your thing then take your longest lens along! Having said that, you can get reasonably close to the deer in the park and with red, fallow and sika deer to spot there’s plenty to keep you busy!
If you’re more of a landscape photographer like me, then a walk along the Seven Bridges Valley is a must in autumn. From The Lake, the walk follows the steep sided valley of the River Skell over a number of footbridges (or fords). There is good scope for autumn colour immediately as you enter the valley and also further along into Chinese Wood.
On my visit I needed to use the first two footbridges only, as beyond this point the River Skell dried up completely, which seemed a shame at first, but turned out to be a bonus in Chinese Wood where a track fords the river as I had a river of leaves to photograph instead!