50 of the best autumn walks in the UK

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Best autumn walks in the UK man and woman walking dog in forest

Enjoy some spectacular autumn colour close to where you live with our ultimate guide to the best autumn walks in the UK

Autumn walks provide a perfect opportunity to get some fresh air while spending time in your natural surroundings.

What could be better for the soul than rambling amongst vibrant tapestries of red, gold and brown, with the sound of fallen leaves crunching beneath your feet? 

To help you find a trail close to where you live, we've listed some of the best autumn walks in the UK – from North to South, East to West. And what's more, all of them are free to enjoy (parking charges may apply). For accessibility information, please check your chosen destination's website.

Important note: before setting off on your autumn walk, remember to check Covid-19 restrictions in your local area.


Autumn walks in the East of England

Best autumn walks in the UK Nowton Park

Nowton Park in Suffolk features trees from across the globe

1. Broaks Wood, Essex

Described as “the most varied wood in Essex”, this 153-acre site includes five miles of paths, enabling walkers of all abilities to marvel at the spectacular autumn colours. Don't miss the grove of giant redwood, the world's tallest species.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

2. Holt Country Park, Norfolk

Located close to the Norfolk coast, this Green Flag Award-winning site is awash with Scots pine, native broadleaves and wildlflowers, as well as a huge variety of wildlife. For more information, download a guide to Holt Country Park.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

3. Nowton Park, Suffolk

This popular 200-acre site is home to a wonderful aboretum, featuring exotic tree species from across the globe. Two ponds and a wildflower meadow add to the autumnal serenity, though the popular maze is currently closed due to Covid-19.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

4. Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk 

Whether you're a walker, a mountain biker or a horse rider, you'll feel at home in this woodland, which forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Sci-fi fans might want to walk the UFO trail, dedicated to a famous sighting in December 1980.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

5. Thornham Walks, Suffolk

Located in the valley of the River Dove, the 2,000-acre Thornham Estate is home to over 12 miles of walks. The sights along the way include a folly, a pets cemetery, water meadows and a memory wood – perfect for some autumn contemplation.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in the Midlands

Best autumn walks in the UK Cannock Chase

Autumn walks in Cannock Chase are full of delightful surprises

6. Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

It may be the country's smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but Cannock Chase crams in plenty of attractions for autumn walkers: a heritage trail, hundreds of red deer and some rare native red squirrels will all be vying for your attention.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

7. Dimmingsdale, Staffordshire

Known locally as “Little Switzerland”, this enchanting valley in the Staffordshire Moorlands is a pleasure to visit all year round, but really comes into its own during the autumn. Lakes, streams, woodland and wildlife – Dimmingsdale has it all.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

8. Lickey Hills Country Park, West Midlands

Located 10 miles south-west of Birmingham, and covering 524 acres of woodland and heathland, Lickey Hills has long been a popular destination among ramblers, who come here to spend time among the wildlife and take in the spectacular views. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

9. Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

No, you won't see Robin Hood, but you will get to admire 925 acres of spectacular scenery at Sherwood Forest, including countless species of trees, birds, plants and fungi. The designated walking routes through the forest cater for all abilities.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

10. Whitwell Wood, Derbyshire

Stretching out across 420 acres, Whitwell Wood is home to more than 20 different species of flora, as well as a number of interesting archaeological features. Three walking trails of varying difficulty will enable you to explore it at your leisure.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in the North East of England

Best autumn walks in the UK Allen Banks

Kids will love the winding woodland trails at Allen Banks

11. Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland

Walkers of all ages will love exploring the winding woodland trails at this National Trust site. There's lots to learn, too – discover the history of the Victorian wildlife garden, and find out how rhododendron can be turned into charcoal. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

12. Chopwell Wood, Tyne and Wear

Around this time of year, this 900-acre mixed woodland near Gateshead turns into a kaleidoscope of browns and golds, making it perfect for autumn walks. There are also trails for cyclists and horseriders, as well as a picnic area for fuelling up.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

13. Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

The largest forest in County Durham, Hamsterley is a 4,900-acre oasis containing a wide variety of broadleaved and coniferous trees – and a network of idyllic paths running through them. It's what autumn walks were made for.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

14. Holystone Wood, Northumberland

The site of a nunnery in the 12th century, Holystone Wood remains a prime spot for walkers seeking solace. It's particularly breathtaking in autumn, when it's network of broadleaved woodlands, crags and waterfalls take on an almost magical feel. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

15. Plessey Woods Country Park, Northumberland

The whole family will enjoying taking autumn walks around this 100-acre site, which incorporates woodlands, meadows, riversides and nature trails. There are picnic benches, too, for when you want to sit down for a warming flask of tea.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in the North West of England

Best autumn walks in the UK Derwentwater

Derwentwater's panoramic vistas are even more awe-inspiring in the autumn

16. Church Stretton, Shropshire

Nestled in a wooded valley, the quaint town of Church Stretton is the perfect starting point for exploring the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, beloved of the poet A.E. Housman. Download 37 local walking routes here

Click here to find this autumn on Google Maps

17. Delamere Forest, Cheshire

Situated south-west of Manchester, Delamere Forest is a great place to get away from the bustle of everyday life – especially in autumn, when it shows off its rustic charms. Observe the wildlife by the lake or gaze in awe at Liverpool's skyline. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

18. Derwentwater, Cumbria

Starting from Keswick town centre, the easyish 10-mile loop around Derwentwater takes in pebbled shores and ancient woodlands that come into their own during the autumn. Don't want to walk the whole way? Hop on the Keswick Launch for an idyllic cruise back to the marina.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

19. Grizedale, Cumbria

Located in the Lake District, Grizedale is medicine for the soul at this time of year. Whichever of the 10 walking trails you choose, you're sure to see something memorable, whether it's heather-clad mountains or forest sculptures. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

20. Rivington Terraced Gardens, Lancashire

These historic gardens at the entrance to the West Pennine Moors are slowly being restored to their former glory, but are open to visitors 365 days a year. Explore their maze of pathways, hills and lakes – and keep your eye out for the resident roe deer.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in the South and South East of England

Best autumn walks in the UK New Forest

The New Forest provides myriad opportunities for autumn walks

21. Brede High Woods, East Sussex

Part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Brede High Woods is the perfect spot for a bit of autumn exploring, combining rich seasonal colours with seldom spotted wildlife – including some of Britain's rarest beetles.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

22. Buchan Country Park, West Sussex

A Green Flag Award-winning site spread across 69 hectares, this idyllic site is popular with ramblers, dog-walkers and nature lovers, and is home to a diverse mix of habitats. Find out more by downloading this guide to Buchan Country Park.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

23. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset

With paths ranging in distance from ¾ mile to 5 miles, this sprawling park can be enjoyed by walkers of all abilities. And there's much to explore, with autumnal woodlands, serene lakes and a play trail for the kids. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

24. New Forest National Park, Hampshire

It would be impossible to list all of the autumn walks that can be enjoyed within this vast park, which covers mile upon mile of ancient woodlands, rugged heathland and picture-perfect coastline. Find out more on the New Forest National Park website.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

25. Orlestone Forest Nature Reserve, Kent

Popular with butterfly and moth enthusiasts who come here to see the nationally important species, this 859-acre site near Ashford is a delight in the autumn, with the ancient woodland exploding into a dazzling array of autumnal reds and golds.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in the South West of England

Best autumn walks in the UK Woodchester Park 

Woodchester Park's idyllic trails are ideal for an autumn afternoon (Credit: Philip Halling)

26. Blaise Castle Estate, Bristol

Described in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey as “the finest place in England”, the Grade II-listed Blaise Castle Estate features a charming woodland walk that culminates in fabulous views across the surrounding area. It's an autumnal treat.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

27. Great Wood, Somerset

Located in the Quantock Hills, Great Wood is known for its majestic Douglas firs, the tallest of which is higher than 11 double-decker buses! The main trail is two-miles long, with plenty of opportunities to take a breather along the way. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

28. Halsdon, Devon

The eight-mile trek through this nature reserve will take you through oak forests, over the River Torridge and across landscaped parkland. If you're lucky, you might catch sight of kingfishers and otters. For more info, download this guide to Halsdon

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

29. Leigh Woods, Bristol

Overlooking the famous Avon Gorge, this National Trust-owned forest area can be traversed via a choice of designated pathways. You'll want to bring a camera when walking in autumn – the red and gold hues are truly a sight to behold.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

30. Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

A filming location for Netflix series The Crown, Woodchester Park is a woodland valley that's home to quaint walking trails and various nature-based kids' activities. The unfinished Victorian mansion at the end of the walk is the icing on the cake.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in Yorkshire

Best autumn walks in the UK Hardcastle Crags

The 19th-century mill at Hardcastle Crags provides a wonderful photo opportunity 

31. Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Covering the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest is a treat in autumn, with oak, beech and hazel trees combining to form a vibrant tapestry. For added fun, why not download and print this game of Tree Trumps.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

32. Greno Woods, South Yorkshire

Greno Woods is known for its Enchanted Forest Trail, where kids are encouraged to spot Green Man carvings, build 'gnome homes' and navigate their way through labyrinths. Once they're done, why not present them with a special certificate.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

33. Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

This 400-acre site in the South Pennines has inspired many a painter over the years, and it's easy to see why. With spectacular waterfalls, tumbling streams and an eye-catching 19th-century mill dotted throughout its ancient woodland, it's a natural masterpiece.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

34. Middleton Woods, West Yorkshire

A perennial favourite among ramblers, the largest remaining ancient woodland site in West Yorkshire is especially pretty in autumn, when the ripened leaves of oak, birch, hazel, sycamore and sweet chestnut trees scatter its myriad walkways.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

35. North Cliffe Wood Nature Reserve, East Yorkshire

This lesser-known, 86-acre forest area is popular among bird-watchers, who come here to see woodpeckers, chaffinches and jackdaws among the birch and mountain ash trees. Fallow and red deer can also be seen during the autumn.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in Scotland

Best autumn walks in the UK Glen Affric

Glen Affric offers mile upon mile of unspoilt landscape 

36. Bruce's Stone, Dumfries and Galloway

Bruce's Stone commemorates Robert the Bruce's victory over the English in 1307. The site affords stunning views over Loch Trool – but if you're feeling fit, you could walk from here up Merrick, the highest mountain in southern Scotland.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

37. Glen Affric, Highlands

Remote majesty abounds at Glen Affric, a location renowned for its native pinewoods, sparkling lochs and romantic moorlands. In autumn, the tranquility is occasionally interrupted by the distant roar of red deer stags.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

38. Lady Mary's Walk, Perthshire

Named after Lady Mary Murray, whose family owned the land in the 19th century, this woodland trail follows the banks of the River Earn. Beech, oak and sweet chestnuts line the route, and you may see herons, dippers and oystercatchers, too.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

39. Loch an Eilein, Highlands

Where better to witness the majesty of autumn than this tranquil lake, distinguished by its island castle ruin and surrounding pine-clad mountains. On a good day, you might spot red squirrel, crested tit and Scottish crossbill.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

40. Pass of Killiecrankie, Perthshire 

Standing on the Garry bridge looking out over the Pass of Killiecrankie, it's hard to believe this peaceful wooded gorge was once the scene of a bloody battle. Walking trails through the forest are open all year round, but an autumn trek is a must.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Autumn walks in Wales and the Forest of Dean

Best autumn walks in the UK Hafod Estate

The paths that wind through the Hafod Estate are sure to stimulate curious minds

41. Afan Forest Park, Neath Port Talbot

Known for its mountain biking routes, this generously sized woodland park near Port Talbot also boasts nine waymarked walking trails, which can take anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours to complete. All offer breathtaking autumnal views.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

42. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire

This 3.5-mile trail meanders through paths lined with golden foliage. Along the route, there are 17 sculptures created by various artists. Our favourite is the giant stained-glass window that hangs overhead, glimmering in the forest light.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

43. Garwnant, Merthyr Tydfil

The southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park, Garwnant is a stunning forest park that offers routes for both walkers and mountain bikers. Kids will love the play area and puzzle trails, and there are also places to stop for a picnic.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

44. Hafod Estate, Dyfed

Former owner Thomas Johnes (1748-1816) designed Hafod in the Picturesque style that was fashionable at the time. Occupying more than 1,000 acres of the Ystwyth Valley and its surrounding hills, it can be explored via five waymarked trails.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

45. Vale of Neath, Neath Port Talbot

An inspiration to poets and painters for centuries, the Vale of Neath will take your breath away too. There's a choice of routes for exploring its renowned waterfalls, the largest of which is an impressive 80ft high.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps 


Autumn walks in Northern Ireland

Best autumn walks in the UK man standing on Mourne Mountains

Autumn walks don't come better, or higher, than the ones that scale the Mournes

46. Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, County Fermanagh

Nicknamed 'the Stairway to Heaven' this route winds its way through a vast expanse of blanket bog before climbing steeply to a viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain. The autumn vistas will make you glad you completed the journey.  

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

47. Glenariff Forest Park, County Antrim

Known as the 'Queen of the Glens', Glenariff is a 2,500-acre site made up of planted woodlands, lakes, waterfalls and recreational areas. A number of different trails stretch out across the park, enabling you to take in the autumn magic.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

48. Gortin Glen Forest Park, County Tyrone

Located at the western gateway to the Sperrin Mountains, Gortin Glen presents five trails of differing lengths, each providing a unique excursion through the historic woodland. Don't be surprised to see a deer or two among the red and gold.

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

49. Mourne Mountains, County Down

Home to the highest mountain in Northern Ireland (Slieve Donard), the Mournes offer dozens of opportunities for hikers looking for some autumn colour. From half-a-mile family strolls to an 82-mile 'Pilgrims' Walk', there's something for everyone. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps

50. The Waterworks, County Antrim

Once the main water supply for Belfast, the Waterworks is now home to many wildfowl and bird species, as well as a community garden. Walkers also come here to enjoy the autumn colour, which can be experienced via one of three routes. 

Click here to find this autumn walk on Google Maps


Activities for the whole family to do on autumn walks

Best autumn walks in the UK boy gathering leaves

• Gather nuts and berries – our foraging for food in autumn page will show you what to look for

• Find leaves to use in art projects – read how to do it in our preserving autumn leaves piece  

• Go on a treasure hunt – this downloadable list from blogger Laura Leanne is full of nature-based items to spot

• Raise some money – this Children In Need page will show you how to do your bit for charity while you're out on your ramble


Boost your mental health this autumn

Best autumn walks in the UK woman smiling in autumn

Autumn walks can be really beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing – but there are also lots of other things you can do to give yourself a boost. Try these Boundless blog posts for starters: 

10 easy ways to boost your mood during the autumn months

Autumn and winter wellness tips to help boost your mood

The best new books to read this autumn

Three great dinner recipes for autumn

 

Photos: Getty Images, unless otherwise stated

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