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8 of the best autumn walks around our sites

Posted by Katy Peck on 9 October 2019
Related property: Upper Norton
8 of the best autumn walks around our sites

A riot of colour in the trees, the crunch of fallen leaves and the cacophony of wildlife makes UK walking a delight in the autumn months. The faint nip of winter may be in the air, but with the golden sunshine and perhaps a warming scarf, you can still enjoy some unforgettable adventures in the fresh air.

To help you really enjoy the splendour of the season, we’ve picked eight of our favourite autumnal walks within an hour of our UK sites.

Attingham Park Autumn Light Walk

45 minutes’ drive from Upper Norton
2 miles
Easy difficulty

Attingham Park is an 18th Century mansion and estate owned and maintained by the National Trust. It’s a fascinating building with both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ sides, but in this instance, our focus is the estates’ famous deer park. Created in 1798, the park is home to around 200 fallow deer which really thrive during the autumn, feeding on acorns and conkers and taking part in the annual rut (breeding season) during the month of October.

The deer park transforms during this time of year, with the changing light highlighting the orange-gold tones of the trees and providing unmatched views of the deer herd. This circular 2-mile walk allows visitors to take in the open landscape and the river, as well as providing some unusual views of the Regency mansion itself.

Heading away from the mansion and the gardens, walkers will first follow the marked route along the river. At this time of year, you might spot swans on the water, while dragonflies’ flit along the banks. Continue to follow the signs to the Deer Park, strolling under a vivid canopy of leaves (children are sure to love collecting conkers), and into the forest, where fungi and wildlife are plentiful.

Once you leave the dense woodland, you’ll find yourself on the open landscape of the Deer Park. Make sure you keep to the grass track, and keep your eyes open for deer hidden amongst the brown bracken and ferns. Here you can also enjoy some lovely views back to the mansion, catching glimpses of its huge shape through the trees before the path leads you back across the river and towards the start, where you’ll be able to relax and warm yourself in the National Trust tearoom.

Knoll Gardens

50 minutes’ drive from Langton House
Easy difficulty

Autumn is often hailed as the best time of year to visit Knoll Gardens. This lovely 4-acre site is known for its wide variety of ornamental grasses, which from early October take on some spectacular autumn hues. There’s also a Chelsea Gold Medal-winning plant nursery, as well as a range of classes, fairs and workshops for those who wish to learn more about the many plants which call the gardens home.

This autumn, take a stroll through these immersive gardens and find yourself surrounded by late-flying bees and butterflies, while the grasses sway and the many varieties of tree rustle overhead. The site also features gravel and meadow gardens, and all the plants are placed according to soil and climate, meaning you’ll see many thriving autumn displays in full bloom.

There are many walking routes to enjoy around the gardens, including the Long Walk and the Wisteria Walk. Keen gardeners will enjoy picking out some autumnal highlights, including Molinia Dauerstrahl, a native grass which turns a wonderful warm honey colour, and Zelkova serrata, a Japanese tree that takes on a vivid red tone. Keep your eyes open for the garden’s Euonymus trees (below), whose brightly coloured fruits are enhanced by the wonderful fall colours.

Teign Gorge walk at Castle Drogo

55 minutes’ drive from Lower Knapp Farm
4 miles
Medium difficulty

Castle Drogo is another National Trust property, and was the last castle to be built in England. It’s a huge building, and from here you can enjoy one of (if not the) most famous walks in Dartmoor – the Teign Gorge circuit. This is a moderately difficult circuit, containing unfenced drops, steep slopes and stairs, but provides walkers with awe-inspiring views – especially during the autumnal months, when the woodland puts on a wonderful display bursting with colour, texture and wildlife.

Start in the main car park of Castle Drogo, and follow signs for the Teign Valley estate walks, followed by the Hunters Path. From here you’ll follow the signs for Fingle Bridge, passing Sharp Tor, where it’s worth stopping for a moment to admire the view. Continue to follow the signed route until you reach Fingle Bridge itself. Here you’ll find the river powering through a breathtaking avenue of red and gold, thanks to the autumn colours decorating the trees. Fingle Bridge itself is a well-known beauty spot, although the majority of the tourists tend to have vanished by the time autumn has truly set in. Take a moment to enjoy this quaint, stone bridge – you could even pop into the cosy riverside pub that sits at one end!

From here, walkers can either cross the bridge and continue on the other side of the river, or stick to the same side and follow the ‘Fishermans path’. For the former route, cross the bridge and follow the path right across the meadows to the wooden footbridge at the far end. This path will take you past the Hydroelectric plant and through the Whiddon Deer Park, before crossing the suspension bridge back towards Castle Drogo.

Blickling Estate Walk

40 minutes’ drive from Barnham Broom
4.5 miles
Moderate difficulty

This circular route takes walkers through the Blinkling Estate parkland, including several areas of woodland that are ablaze with beautiful autumn shades. The Great Wood is a particular highlight, with the mixture of oak, beech, sweet chestnuts and small-leaved limes all contributing to the vivid colour show.

From Blickling’s main National Trust car park, go down the left-hand side of the visitor centre and follow the lane until you reach a pub called the Buckinghamshire Arms. Turn left and continue on to the church, before crossing the road and walking until you find the way marker with a blue arrow. From here you’ll pass through a small, yet lovely, woodland and make your way across a meadow. Keep your eye out for an old water pump, before continuing along the way-marked path through the fields and into Long Plantation woodlands.

Once you’ve navigated the woods, you’ll arrive at an imposing tower, an 18th Century grandstand for what was the Steeple Chase Racecourse. Continue past along the marked route and you’ll find yourself traveling through open parkland, woods and fields. You'll pass an 18th Century mausoleum in the shape of a large pyramid, before eventually re-entering the trees and finding your way back to Blickling Hall.

Once you’re back, there’s still plenty of autumnal sights and events to admire in Blickling Estate, including their fantastic orchard and walled garden!

Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge

10 minutes’ drive (or 90 minutes’ walk) from Ivy House Hotel 
4.5 miles
Moderate difficulty

The Lake District is a wonderful place to visit at this time of year. The worst of the crowds have disappeared and the fells are turning from green to gold… it’s a wonderful choice for those who are looking to get back to nature and enjoy the fresh autumnal air.

This circular walk starts in the Great Wood car park, again owned by the National Trust. From here you can venture into the woods themselves, where the path rises steadily up the hill. These woods are a wonderful place to admire some spectacular autumnal scenery, as the region's famous oak trees turn a magnificent shade of auburn and copper – peaking at the end of October/beginning of November.

The trees eventually give way to fields, with some lovely views of Keswick, Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite. From here, follow the path that’s signposted ‘Walla Crag’. The path will take you across several footbridges, eventually turning into a stony track up the slope. The route becomes steeper here, but be sure to soldier on - the summit of Walla Crag will slowly appear in front of you, with its unmatched views of the lake and surrounding valley, alive with autumn colours. Make sure to take a moment and enjoy these amazing surroundings!

The route back down will take you across moorland and marshland, and eventually to the famous Ashness Bridge; an ancient packhorse bridge which has long been a favourite of artists and photographers.

Beech Avenue and Kingston Lacy

40 minutes’ drive from Langton House
4 miles
Moderate difficulty

Beech Avenue at Kingston Lacy in Dorset is one of the most photographed roads in the country, and in autumn it’s easy to see why! Over 300 beach trees tower on each side of the road, turning magnificent shades of red and gold and creating a natural tunnel for the walkers and vehicles alike.

This walk takes you around the edge of the Kingston Lacy Park, starting at the South Lodge car park and taking walkers past an ancient Iron Age settlement before you reach Beech Avenue itself. Planted in 1835 by William John Bankes, this beautiful road was originally created as a toll route, with the aim of providing the estate with some additional income.

Once you’ve walked past the 731 trees, you’ll reach Kingston Lacy Park. Kingston Lacy itself is a centuries-old family home built in the style of a Venetian Palace, and is also beautiful in the autumn months. Their 7-acre Japanese Garden contains a selection of acres which take on some unmissable autumn hues. Whether you stop to admire the property or continue along the marked path to complete the loop, you’re bound to be treated to some spectacular autumnal scenery.

Nant Gwynant autumn walk

50 minutes’ drive from Henllys
4 miles
Moderate difficulty

The lower slopes of Snowdon and the Nant Gwynant valley are an amazing sight at this time of year. With beautiful autumn colours, years of history and some amazing viewpoints, this tranquil walk is a lovely route to enjoy with family and friends. Keep your eyes open and you can discover peaceful clearings, wooded glades, canopies of fiery colours and wild fungi growing underfoot.

Start near Bethania car park and follow the Watkin Path, which takes you through peaceful woodland towards Bylchau Terfyn. The route is marked, meaning it’s easy to follow through the quiet valley bursting with heather and rich with wildlife. The path continues gradually uphill, rewarding you with some wonderful views on the way. Once you’ve scaled the hill, continue down the slope on the old cart track, before braving the stepping stones over the river, to finish at Craflwyn Hall.

Batsford Arboretum

20 minutes’ drive from Buckland Court
Easy difficulty

Batsford Arboretum welcomes a riot of colour in autumn, with an abundance of berries and a flaming colour palette. The collection of plants comes from all over the world, but the emphasis is on the Far East, including the National collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries. Other collections include Acers, with their fiery autumn colours, and Sorbus, known for their range of autumnal fruits.

For the best displays, visit Batsford between mid-October and mid-November and enjoy a gentle morning or afternoon walk around the gardens, drinking in the seasonal beauty of these lovely plants.

After a day exploring these amazing examples of nature, there’s nothing like resting your tired feet in a comfortable holiday property. We have a selection of stunning sites available in some of the most lovely parts of the UK. Our sites have some beautiful gardens of their own, so even if you'd rather sit back and relax, you’ll never be too far from a wonderful seasonal display! Find out more about how you can enjoy a holiday at our sites here.

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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