Walking in autumn reveals a kaleidoscope of glorious countryside colours and a range of wildlife gems. Less visited routes, fabulous blue skies and amazing golden sunsets add to the delights of a walk in the UK at this time of year. Now is the perfect time to pull on your walking boots and warm layers to head out for a fabulous autumn walk. Here we bring you 10 of our favourite autumn walks in the UK.
Balmaha to Rowardennan takes walkers along the banks of Loch Lomond, which is the UK’s largest inland area of water. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the loch and gorgeous natural forestry on this seven-mile walk. For more autumnal delights, you could extend the walk along the famous long-distance Scottish route, the West Highland Way. Choose a dry and sunny day for the best views and if you have the energy the following day, climb Scotland’s most southerly Munro, Ben Lomond from Rowardennan.
Listen out for the eerie roars of rutting red deer stags and take in the stunning fiery colours of the trees on a longer-distance walking route called the Highland Perthshire Trail. Perthshire is also known as Big Tree Country, and beech trees and hedgerows are a speciality. There are many places for shorter strolls surrounded by stunning autumnal foliage in this gorgeous and highly accessible region.
With their characteristic patchwork fields and rolling hills, The Dales make a great destination whatever the season. In autumn, the lower sun appears to paint the countryside with warm brushstrokes and with nature’s passing, the landscape glows in warm yellows and browns. The Dales can also seem far less walked in autumn when compared to the busier summer months.
A beautiful walk from Coverack to Helford, which is actually a diversion from the South West Coast Path, takes in spectacular seascape views and passes through the former fishing villages of Porthoustock and Porthallow. At Helford, you’ll discover an autumn treat thanks to the estuary’s fantastic wildlife. This season is the best time for rock pooling. When the tides are out at Helford, the mud flats and rock pools are exposed, and you can go in search of crabs, lumpsuckers and fabulous red, green and brown seaweed. The sands and mud of the estuary boast huge numbers of invertebrates, and many seabirds come to feast on these creatures.
The coast of the UK is a fabulous place in autumn and, in particular, it is the best place to spot great skeins of migratory geese, which arrive from Arctic breeding grounds to spend the winter in the UK. Walk any section of the Northumberland Coastal Path for breath-taking seascapes and numerous geese spotting opportunities. A favourite is the 10-mile walk from Craster to Seahouses, which also includes a chance to see the impressive ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. At Seahouses, pop over to the famous Farne Islands, where you’ll see an array of seasonal birds, as well as a population of grey seals and their pups.
A six-mile walk from Longside takes you to Peterhead and the chance to visit Loch of Strathbeg, where some 80,000 pink-footed geese are in residence during early autumn. That’s a quarter of the world’s population! Also, there is a vast variety of other wildfowls such as whooper swans, barnacle geese and lapwings. The walk is part of a Peterhead Branch of the Formartine and Buchan Way.
Buriton to Cocking boasts woodland and hills, which offer a feast for the eyes, especially as autumn gives way to stunning foliage and golden landscapes. This delightful 11-mile walk from Buriton to Cocking is glorious whatever the time of year, but in autumn it’s breath-taking. The walk can be extended or shortened on the South Downs Way
Aberfoyle to Brig o’ Turk offers magical nine-mile walk, starting in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, which is particularly beautiful in autumn when the foliage turns its fabulous red and oranges. There are also fabulous views to the south as you climb over the Duke’s Pass. Keep an eye out for red squirrels. This walk is part of the Trossachs Trail.
Every autumn grey seals come ashore on the Pembrokeshire coast to have their pups on the sheltered beaches. At RSPB Reserve Ramsey, just off the end of the St David’s peninsula, a lovely four-mile walk heads around the island and offers a great place to see the seals. Alternatively, you can spot the seals and their pups from numerous cliff top trails along the coast
Isle of Arran
Walk this fantastic eight-mile coastal trail between Brodick and Sannox for a wealth of stunning scenery – and a chance to spot seals. In autumn, you could be treated to the sight of many, many seal pups. The walk is part of the Arran Coastal Way.
The Scottish Borders brims with colour and autumnal delights, and this walk from Jedburgh to Hawick – part of the fascinating Borders Abbeys Way – reveals golden tones of rolling countryside and the glorious autumnal shades of Merlin Wood. You’ll be treated to more spectacular views as you head up Black Law, which is the highest section of the walk. Another lovely idea in autumn is to visit one of the four abbeys on this route at Jedburgh, Melrose, Kelso or Dryburgh and watch as the sun sets evocatively in the background.
Please do tell us about your favourite walks in autumn.