We set off on an autumn walk to collect leaves and make sun print pictures! 

Oh my goodness, I love Autumn! I’m split between wanting to be out on the water with all that clear, crisp air and the wind in my hair and wanting to walk through crunchy leaves with my hands shoved in my coat pockets, breathing out clouds of dragon breath while my smallest boy races on ahead. Last weekend the walk won and he and I set off to one of our favourite haunts with a picnic and a bounce in our steps.

In Spring we gather elderflowers by the river, in Summer we hide in the labyrinth which has been planted in the meadows and in autumn we collect leaves, pine cones and sticks to make things with when we get home. We have been walking here together since before we had children, we spent hours here with all of them as they grew and I’m now enjoying spending time here with just him, he’s a fabulous country companion!

This time we were lucky enough to spot a dragon fly which seemed to be just as curious about him as he was about it. They chased each other around the perimeter of the pond for a good ten minutes, stopping every now and again to stare into each other’s eyes.

We waited patiently on the river bank to see if the heron would stride into view or the kingfisher would zoom by showing off his iridescent plumage. Children love familiar places – life doesn’t always have to be full of new adventures and a constant barrage of stuff, it can be slow paced and warmly lived. We love returning to the familiar to see how it’s getting along, observing the seasonal changes, noticing how we too have grown and changed.


Young boy on an autumn walk by the river.

We saw a family standing on the bridge where we have played many games of Pooh Sticks – I smiled at the memory then he made me laugh out loud as he suggested we could play Duck Sticks with the little family of quackers which were swimming by ‘We could sedate them then throw them over the bridge and see which one appears on the other side first!’ – well, we could…but, no, I think not!

Bradford on Avon Bridge with swans.

We stopped to catch our breath and eat our picnic on a bench and we nattered about his week and his plans for the rest of the weekend.

Autumn Picnic on a park bench with Little Yeos.

Wandering back the way we had come we filled our pockets with autumn leaves before ending up at the play park for a nice swing.

Young boy playing on a large swing.

Once home, we pressed our leaves between large books just until they laid flat and then we made some sun print pictures with them. I did this years ago with the older ones but had completely forgotten to do it with him. It’s a lovely, easy little thing to do with things you collect on a family walk or with things you find around the house. All you need to make sun print pictures is some sun print paper, the sun, some interesting objects and a tray of water.

Our Sun Print Pictures

We had maple leaves

Sun Print Picture of Maple Leaves.

And oak leaves

Sun print picture of English Oak Leaves.

But we decided that we needed something a bit more dramatic for our sun print pictures; something which would let more light through and make a more interesting print – a leaf skeleton did the trick, isn’t it beautiful?!

sun print picture of a leaf skeleton.

So, as Autumn gets into its stride, we’ll be out there. We’ll be carving a wake through the waves, we’ll be climbing hills and flying kites, we’ll be wading through mud in our wellies and we’ll be collecting nature’s treasure either to eat or to turn into something – maybe a leaf bowl, a wreath or a cute creature.

Autumn leaf bowl, lit from behind by sunlight.


Do you have favourite walks – places you return to again and again?


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