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7 best walks this autumn

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change, it’s high time to get your Wellington boots on and plunge into the great outdoors. Walking in the UK is at its best during the autumn months, when temperatures are crisp, crowds are low and the surroundings are spectacular. The best autumn walks combine brilliant scenery, ease of access and that special something for all ages.

Rolling hills of South Downs National Park

Take an autumn stroll through the South Downs

1. Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex

Beloved by painters like Constable, this area has delighted onlookers for years — and there are plenty of trails by the National Trust for walkers to get their fill of autumn scenery. One of the best autumn walks in the area is the Devil’s Dyke Saddlescombe Farm and Newtimber walk, which goes downhill and leads your eye across rolling vistas of reddening foliage.

 

Take the perfect shot along the Rob Roy Way

Take the perfect shot along the Rob Roy Way

2. Rob Roy Way, Killin to Ardtalnaig, Scotland

This trail heads around the edge of the spectacular Loch Lomond, and starts at the Falls of Dochart, which look even prettier than usual (which is difficult) against a blaze of fiery autumnal leaves. This is a spot for photography lovers who want to catch that perfect late-season shot.

 

Changing leaves in Hertfordshire

Head to Hertfordshire for changing leaves

3. Ashridge, Hertfordshire

Animal-lovers will thrill to the Ashridge Autumn Colours Trail, which crosses the Ashridge Estate in the Chilterns Hills to give the finest possible vantage point on the changing leaves. Hidden between the foliage — or, on lucky days, galloping out into the open — is the estate’s population of fallow deer, who are in the midst of their breeding season. Get children to spot the bucks, with their spectacular antlers.

 

Three Cliffs Bay on Gower Peninsula

Breathe the fresh autumn air at Three Cliffs Bay on Gower Peninsula

4. Wales Coastal Path, Wales

Autumn walking routes don’t have to be confined to inland trails. The Wales Coastal Path is 870 miles long, so it’s vital to pick a segment to suit your needs; in the autumn season, that’s likely to be somewhere like the Carmarthenshire section from St Clears to Laugharne, which is right in the middle of Dylan Thomas country, passing the shed where he worked. It also takes in the delightfully ruined Laugharne Castle, which will even catch the imagination of people who profess to loathe poetry.

 

Autumn scenery at Blenheim Palace

Enjoy autumn scenery at Blenheim Palace

5. Blenheim Palace, Cotswolds

Children can run riot and pretend to be the leaders of the nation in the vast grounds of this estate, with elaborate fountains, huge lakes and rolling hills of glorious autumnal colour. Whether you’re a lone walker, a romantic twosome or a family group, a day out in the 2,000 acres of Blenheim in autumn will be a stunning experience.

 

Mottistone, Isle of Wight

Collect conkers at the National Trust

6. Mottistone Manor, Isle of Wight

If you want your kids to discover the joys of conkers, this is the place to go; it’s got one of the National Trust’s most prolific conker collections available for picking up every autumn. Roam the many byways surrounding the Elizabethan manor house, selecting your specimens for the ultimate battle — and if that’s not enough to capture attention during autumn, Bronze age monuments and vast gardens should do the trick.

 

White horse in the New Forest

Discover autumn wonder in the New Forest

7. New Forest, Hampshire

Your only problem in autumn in the New Forest will be which walk to pick; with some of the UK’s most glowing late-season scenery, it’s a banquet for walkers of all types. You may well encounter pigs snuffling in the Forest undergrowth eating acorns, which will delight children. It’s also prime time for fungi, so take a foraging tour with a guide, and drink in the scenery while filling your bags with delicious take-home treats.

 

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