These are five of our favourite UK autumn walks – a perfect way to spend a crisp autumn day!
For me autumn is the herald of colder days and longer nights, things which I dread due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But, even so, there’s something special about getting your cosy jumper out for the first time in months, wrapping up in a scarf and coat, pulling on your boots and heading out into the crisp autumn air.
Autumn skies can still be clear and blue, but down on the ground nature bursts into colour, making a walk in the countryside even more magical.
My inner child still loves to kick up those orange, gold and red leaves as they fall to the ground, as well as collect conkers and pine cones, and every year I love to find new places to visit, or return to those only seen in spring or summer, to experience them in full autumn blaze.
We all have our favourite walks but I decided to ask the experts where they’d recommend heading for a beautiful autumn walk.
With that in mind here are five of the best places for autumn walks in the UK, as chosen by the National Trust, Ordnance Survey and, of course, my good self!
Are you a fellow SAD sufferer? Don’t let the winter blues get you down – follow these doctors’ tips on fighting seasonal affective disorder…
1 – The New Forest National Park, Hampshire
Whenever I visit the New Forest I feel like I’ve gone through a portal into a magical fantasy land thanks to its rolling plains, wonderful woods and of course its roaming ponies.
A firm favourite of ramblers and dog owners, the New Forest’s landscape is so diverse that you’ll never get bored of exploring.
However, if you get tired, you’ve got some gorgeous quaint villages and towns to rest your weary feet, perhaps in front of a log fire in a gorgeous country pub?
Want more ideas of things to do? Here’s my guide to 7 of the best things to do in the New Forest!
2 – The Wye Valley, England/Wales
The Wye Valley crosses Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire and it’s full of dramatic scenery whatever the country you find yourself in.
There’s everything from nature reserves to remnants of the industrial era to explore, but for somewhere special to visit in autumn head to Symonds Yat Rock, as from here you’ll get some amazing views over the River Wye and the colourful forest beyond.
If you’re up for an adventure there’s a great circular walk into a steep valley where you can wander by little waterfalls, take a walk across a 1950’s suspension bridge and, when it’s running (which is during weekends and school holidays), you can even go for a trip on a traditional hand ferry!
Why not stay longer and take some time to explore the book lovers heaven that is Hay-on-Wye?
3 – The Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
Home to the TV show Outlander, the Cairngorms can’t help but evoke a feeling of fantasy. I mean come on, it even has a ‘Glen of Fairies’!
One of National Geographic Traveller Magazine’s top 20 places to visit, its woodland trails and sprawling paths look like something that could have been lifted from many a fantasy novel. Not much of a surprise then, that it was also used as a setting in Game of Thrones.
The park is surrounded by imposing mountains and is home to the beautiful Loch Callater as well as the Falls of Bruar.
The loch offers walkers a gentle stroll, but for those who like more of a challenge head to the waterfall, as the pathway there takes you through a dense pine forest, across old stone bridges an even along the a deep gorge.
4 – Powis Castle and Gardens, Wales
Standing atop its hilltop home, the imposing red walls of this medieval fortress creates a very dramatic autumnal setting for the gardens, which at this time of year becomes a riot of reds, yellows, burnt oranges and golds.
The gardens are made up of trees and plants from all over the world, so whether you make it at the start of autumn or don’t get there until November, you’re still sure to find autumnal colour somewhere in the gardens.
5 – Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is my favourite place to visit in autumn, even though it’s a wonderful place any time of year. Autumn is when it looks its most amazing, thanks in part to its famous acer glade. Found in the Old Arboretum, the 200+ trees produce a rainbow of colour that will leave walkers slack-jawed in awe.
If that wasn’t enough, a walk through its Silk Wood, an ancient semi-natural woodland, is well worth a wander, as here you’ll find a collection of Japanese maples, which are famed for their spectacular autumn colour.
Discover more wonderful things to do in the Cotswolds during the autumn months…
Five of the best UK autumn walks
So there you have it, my five best places to visit for a UK autumn walk.
Do you have a special place you’d add to this list?