5 spectacular autumn walks

    Stourhead. Credit: Allan King

    Autumn sparks a riot of breathtaking colour across the British landscape that’s best observed on a long rumble. From bracing hikes over windswept moorlands to gentle woodland walks, the National Trust has walking trails to suit all tastes. Here are some of our most colourful walks to inspire you to get out and about this autumn.

    Stourhead, Wiltshire 

    This 5-mile walk takes you up through beautiful woodlands to King Alfred’s Tower, a 160ft high folly designed for Stourhead’s owner Henry Hoare II in 1772. It is believed to mark the site where King Alfred the Great rallied his troops in 878. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the spectacular views across the lake in the landscape garden, with the deep autumnal hues of red, russet and yellow from the surrounding trees.

    Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia National Park, Wales
    Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia National Park, Wales. Credit: National Trust Images/Graham Eaton

    Nant Gwynant, Snowdonia 

    The woodlands at Nant Gwynant are mostly ancient oak and ash, which turn a lovely orange in the autumn. As autumn moves on the bracken above the treeline also turns to shades of russet, set off by the glow of sunsets in the early evening.

    Winkworth Arboretum. Credit: National Trust/John Miller
    Winkworth Arboretum. Credit: National Trust/John Miller

    Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey 

    During the autumn months the splendour of Winkworth Arboretum comes to life with rich, blazing colour from the Japanese, American and Norwegian maples. This 2.5 mile walk weaves its way through the woodland to the top of Hydon’s Ball, where you can enjoy spectacular views across the Surrey landscape. From here the route carries on to the charming village of Hambledon where you will discover Oakhurst Cottage, a delightful 16th-century labourer’s home which has remained largely unchanged for the past hundred years or more.

    Wicken Fen,Cambridgeshire
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire. Credit: National Trust/Justin Minns

    Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire 

    Wicken Fen may not have any woodland, but it’s still possible to see stunning autumn colour on a walk around the reserve. In September the sedge turns an amazing russet colour, which becomes golden in the evenings as the setting sun illuminates the leaves. During the Second World War Dig for Victory campaign, the war office turned the fen into arable land. Restoration of the area is now being carried out, and every visit you make to Wicken Fen helps the National Trust to care for the plants and wildlife that have made a home here.

    Brownsea Island, Dorset
    Brownsea Island, Dorset. Credit: National Trust Images/John Miller

    Brownsea, Dorset 

    Brownsea’s unspoiled landscape provides a peaceful haven for visitors seeking a bit of autumn colour. From sweet chestnuts and beeches to hazel trees and scarlet oaks from North America, there are a whole range of bright hues to enjoy. Even the local wildlife adds to the vibrant atmosphere, with migrant redstarts and the local population of red squirrels as the stars of the show. This easy walk will take you round the island to enjoy all the delights of the season, with sweeping coastal views thrown in for good measure.

    For more on beautiful National Trust managed properties and landscapes visit the website.


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