SPINE-CHILLING tales top off a week of half-term Halloween fun at Coggeshall's Markshall Estate.

The venue is holding its Great Big Pumpkin Hunt where children are challenged to find all 30 hand-painted pumpkins hidden in the 200-acre Arboretum throughout the week.

Families can also catch the trees in a full autumn kaleidoscope of colour as the Arboretum comes alive with reds, golds and oranges to create an amazing natural spectacle.

Trees to look out for at the estate include the stunning swamp birch in the North America zone with its bright golden yellow foliage, the three-flowered maple in the Asia zone showcasing its unusual, orange, three-toothed leaves, and the claret ash, for its distinctive red hue, in the Europe zone.

Youngsters can join the Markshall team for fun crafts and adventure play in the Wild Wood, with everything from making leaf puppets to flower painting, and hammock building to storytelling on Wild Wednesday (October 27) and Wild Saturday (October 30).

There are Not-So-Scary Spooky Stories for Kids on Saturday, October 30, from 3.15pm to 5.15pm. Children can join storyteller Shane Ibbs for a lantern-lit stroll and hear tales of things that go bump in the night, before gathering round the firepit for toasted cinnamon apples and fruit dipped in melted chocolate.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Children can go wild in the Wild Wood

Youngsters will creep past the Screaming Oak and watch out for the Witch’s Hat tree as they are taken back to a time when ghosts, ghouls and fairy folk called the Markshall Estate home.

Later Dark and Twisted Tales for Adults will see Shane uncover the darker side of Markshall Estate’s past at a spine-tingling after-hours event from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Visitors will hear rumours of murder and even a touch of the supernatural as they walk around the Arboretum at night.

Markshall executive director Kath Cockshaw said: "We're really looking forward to welcoming visitors this October half-term.

"Our world of trees really comes alive with fiery reds and golden yellows at this time of year, making the perfect backdrop for the Great Big Pumpkin Hunt and our series of new events at Markshall Estate."

Braintree and Witham Times:

There is a kaleidoscope of colours at this time of year

This Sunday's photography workshop and next Friday's stargazing evening have already sold out.

For more details and prices visit markshall.org.uk.