'Nightmare' winter to begin within three weeks

'Nightmare' winter to begin within three weeksPA

Forecasters have warned that a 'big freeze' could begin by early December - and we could be facing one of the coldest winters for more than a decade.

The Daily Star Sunday reports that the Met Office has already briefed the Government and road chiefs to prepare for a colder than average winter.

Forecasters expect temperatures to drop significantly at the end of November, at which time ice and frost are likely to cause transport problems and there will be a significant risk of heavy snow.

We last had a late-November cold snap in 2010, which kick-started a month-long freeze and resulted in 16 inches of snow in the north and eight inches in the south.

Figures already show that 2012 is colder than 15 out of 16 years since 1996. Based on January-October data, the year's UK mean temperature is 8.78C. As below-average temperatures are forecast for November and December, the overall temperature is expected to be lower than this. The only year since 1996 that has been colder was 2010, at 7.97C.

The Met Office's 30 day forecast warns of colder, drier conditions as we move through November.

Click on the image below for some wonderful winter wonderlands...

Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands
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'Nightmare' winter to begin within three weeks

From the ruined castle to deer park and woodland, there is plenty to discover in this iconic part of the Welsh countryside. Visitors can enjoy walks, spot nature or simply take in the sights before warming up with fine local fare in the tea room.

Originally designed as a tourist destination, Stowe’s temples, lakes and monuments remain as fascinating as ever through the seasons. The newly restored coaching inn is the perfect place to enjoy a winter warmer, from hot drinks to soups and main courses.

Six miles from Exeter, this relaxed 18th-century estate makes an ideal place to stop off for a few hours. Rare trees, woodland walks and a the quirky “Bear’s Hut” are just some of the highlights to be found outside. Pop into the Killerton Kitchen restaurant for a hearty meal, or take tea in the Stable tea-room. Award-winning Killerton cider, chutney, flour or honey can be bought here too as a tasty reminder of your day.

This former Ducal park is open all year and home to nearly 4000 acres of parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and open spaces to explore on foot or by bike.

Mottisfont contains the National Trust’s newest winter garden, and specialises in exploring the potential of plants that are at their most beautiful and interesting when other plants are in hibernation. It combines a number of unusual plants, but also some familiar species for visitors to view in a new light.

Magnificent 12th-century ruins combine with beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens at this lovely World Heritage Site, which also boasts its own medieval deer park. To make a weekend of it, stay in one of the 11 holiday cottages here, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.

This seven-acre winter garden is home to more than 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs to admire, providing plenty of colourful distractions from the cold.

Take in the fresh winter air surrounded by a world-famous landscape garden, where a magnificent lake reflects classic temples, mystical grottos and swathes of surrounding trees. Make a weekend of it at 89 Church Lawn: set at the entrance to the magical landscape garden, this pretty stone cottage is an idyllic country hideaway. Enjoy bracing walks around the ornamental lake before the crowds. Sleeps seven.

Well worth a visit for its plethora of scenic delights, with statues and columns scattered across the atmospheric grounds. And the winter garden will be a delight for gardening fanatics, as it contains over 150 species of plants....

This beautiful 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces to stretch tired legs while exploring elegant buildings and ruins. Escape along the avenue for miles of tranquil walks or enjoy family adventures at the woodland playscape and challenge trail.


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