ONE of the most wonderful things about autumn is the colours.

Across the country, forests, pockets of woodland, urban avenues and trees in our own back gardens are putting on their annual displays of rich reds, vibrant golds and yellows of every hue.

Among those worth seeing is that of the many trees and shrubs at The Yorkshire Arboretum.

The 120-acre site, near Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, is already beginning to turn, with a stunning range of colours that will only intensify over the coming weeks.

The “October Glory” red maple is beginning to live up to its name and superb crops of fruit are appearing in pink, orange and white.

For children a visit offers an opportunity to chase through leaves, and collect a few of different sizes and colours, to take home Youngsters can also build dens and enjoy games of hide and seek.

The arboretum’s impressive collection has been sourced from temperate regions around the world including Chile and Australasia as well as North America, Europe and Asia. The result is a spectacular display of rare trees alongside native plants and wildlife for visitors to enjoy as a place of inspiration, education and conservation.

Native oak, ash and beech share the site with the likes of Japanese maple, Turkish alder, Australian eucalyptus and American fir.

Lying within the Castle Howard Estate, the arboretum as we know it today was created through the enthusiasm and partnership of George Howard - Lord Howard of Henderskelfe - and garden designer James Russell.

George Howard had begun an arboretum here in 1959, but rabbits killed most of the trees, and it was not until after James Russell had moved to Castle Howard in 1968 and created the woodland garden in Ray Wood that they turned their attention to re-founding the arboretum.

John Simmons, then curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, instigated the formation of the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust as a partnership between Kew and the Castle Howard Estate. Established in 1996, the trust preserves and develops the collections in both the arboretum and Ray Wood in Castle Howard grounds.

There’s a lake, with a lakeside walk many, many wild areas and a pine forest, with towering trees, giant cones and the rich smell of pine in the air.

In July, a new hard path was created allowing visitors to better explore the site’s southern boundary. The 1.2km path loops back to the main arboretum track, opening up more areas for access throughout the seasons, and allowing visitors to admire the brilliant white birch, hornbeams and beech vying for attention in the autumn sunshine.

It’s a great place for photography.

Yorkshire Arboretum director John Grimshaw said: “The beginning of October sees the definite change of season from summer to autumn, with green leaves fading and autumnal tints flourishing by the end of the month.

“The hornbeams around the visitor centre are laden with beautiful fruits, and the imminent bursts of oranges, reds and golds promise spectacular autumn colour for visitors to enjoy over the coming weeks.”

If it’s breezy, it’s lovely to hear the sound of the leaves rustling and watch them blowing around as they are caught in the gusts.

The Yorkshire Arboretum and Ray Wood are gardens of the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, an independent charity established to maintain and protect these unique collections.

Founded in 1997 as a partnership between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Castle Howard, the trust’s patron is the Prince of Wales.

It is a large site, so visitors can have a decent walk. There are also motorised mobility buggies on free loan for those who are less able to get about.

Most of the trees in the arboretum bear labels identifying them to visitors, which is useful, especially if you fancy one for your own garden

Tree trail maps are free at the attraction’s visitor centre,

where there’s a spacious cafe selling home-made cakes and scones. It has a wide veranda where you can sit outside if it’s not too cold, offering views towards the lake.

A gift shops stocks, if I remember rightly from a visit last year, a good selection of greetings cards and other items.

Admission is £7 for adults, £3.50 for children (12 to 16 years) and £17.50 for families (2+2). These prices include a ten per cent voluntary donation that supports the work of the Yorkshire Arboretum (Registered Charity 1044931). Visitors can choose not to pay this.

Under 12s are free.

The Arboretum, Castle Howard, York, YO60 7BY, is open from 10am to 4pm, every day until November 30. It reopens at the beginning of February.

For more information on prices and opening times visit Tel: 01653 648598.