If you've been a Fifi McGee fan for a while you'll know that every year, the very moment the leaves start falling, Neil and I race out and prance around the woods for a wee photoshoot sesh together. There's something about all the colours, the first frost and the excuse to wrap up warm that makes us look forward to our annual Autumnal shoots together.
This year after spending a Summer weekend in the Wilderness Woods Shepherds Hut for Neil's birthday – we knew we needed to go back to experience the place in the colourful Autumn.
Wilderness Woods is a tranquil setting in the teeny village of Hadlow Down near Uckfield, Sussex. It's home to the most gorgeous little café that reminds me of nothing else but the Woodcutter's cottage in Hansel and Gretel. Serving up delicious meals, coffees, cakes (and at this time of year, a host of Christmas decorations!) it's the perfect day trip for you and your other half, family or children for a spot of lunch before a walk around their 62 acres of Chestnut Coppice woods and climbing frames/workshops to keep the kids busy.
On our weekend there back in Summer, we saw a little sign that read "Christmas Tree Field, Do Not Enter, Cut-Your-Own in December". I got a bit giddy about the prospect of having a real tree for the first time in years so we earmarked it and said we'd be back come November to select our tree and pay a deposit ready to cut it down for December.
So off we went this weekend just gone, and made a day of it. We brought Neil's ma and pa with us who were staying with us for the weekend, and thought what better place to do our Autumnal photo sesh as we could pay a deposit to reserve our Christmas tree whilst we were there.
Sorry to say the story doesn't end well.
We left the woods Christmas-tree-less :(
They had all sold out within a few days, and we were gutted!
We didn't let it dampen our spirits though – next year we'll have to get in there sooner. I had a little look around the trees, all tagged and ready for their homes come December. Then we paid another visit to the Shepherd's Hut we spent that wonderful Summer weekend, and it looked all the more beautiful in the colour of Autumn.
Even though it wasn't meant to be, I highly recommend heading to Wilderness Woods this Winter. Careful though, after rainfall it's slippy underfoot! They're hosting Christmas Markets throughout December which I'm hoping to pop along to. More information here: http://www.wildernesswood.org/christmas-market2017/
What do you think, should we get a real tree from somewhere else or stick with our artificial tree this year?
All photography by Neil William Shaw (Wedding Photographer)
Dress Zara (EXACT ONE HERE)
Scarf Primark (LAST YEAR BUT BURGUNDY IS IN STOCK THIS YEAR)