Crunch time! Britain may be in crisis – but these exhilarating walks among crisping autumn leaves will lift the spirits

  • Collect edible nuts along the avenue of Spanish Sweet Chestnut trees in Henry VIII’s deer park in London 
  • In Monmouthshire, set off from the romantic Tintern Abbey and head on an autumn walk along the River Wye  
  • Look up at some of Britain’s tallest trees on a stroll through The Hermitage in Perthshire, Scotland 

It’s good to walk.

And here we’ve rounded up some of the very best places to stretch the legs, from the romantic Wiltshire wood where Henry VIII wooed Jane Seymour to the family-friendly Durham forest that was planted by miners in the 1930s. 

POTTER IN LAKELAND 

Golden: Head on an autumnal walk around the Lake District’s Tarn Hows (pictured), a lake that was once owned by the author and illustrator Beatrix Potter

In the Lake District, the National Trust path around Tarn Hows is the best way to get a huge dose of autumn colour.

Good to know: The lake was once owned by author and illustrator Beatrix Potter.

Stay: Cuckoo Brow Inn, Ambleside. Double B&B from £143 (cuckoobrow.co.uk).

THE KING’S PARK 

Henry VIII’s deer park in London’s Greenwich Park is now one of the best places to see autumn colours in the capital.

Good to know: Collect edible nuts along the avenue of 400-year-old Spanish Sweet Chestnut trees.

Stay: The Pilot. Double B&B from £194 (pilotgreenwich.co.uk).

ABBEY VIEWS  

On a walk from the romantic Tintern Abbey (pictured) along the River Wye you’ll pass moss-covered boulders and gnarled twisted trees en route

Monmouthshire’s best autumn walks wind along the River Wye from the romantic Tintern Abbey. Paths climb the banks through moss-covered boulders and gnarled twisted trees.

Good to know: For the perfect snap, the abbey ruins are at their best with the backdrop of golden trees.

Stay: Tintern Old Rectory, Tintern. Double room from £85 (tintern-oldrectory.co.uk).

AMONG GOLDEN REEDS 

Spot kingfishers on a stroll through the gold swaying grasses of Wicken Fen reserve in Cambridgeshire’s Fenland

It’s not just trees — swathes of reeds change colour in autumn, too. The best place to see vast expanses of red and gold swaying grasses is Wicken Fen reserve in Cambridgeshire’s Fenland.

Good to know: Spot kingfishers.

Stay: The Three Pickerels, Mepal, Ely. Double B&B from £86 (thethreepickerels.co.uk).

SEE THE HUFF DUFF 

Follow colourful autumn paths through purple heather to the Huff Duff in the New Forest.

Good to know: ‘Huff Duff’ isn’t being breathless after this modest hilly walk — it’s the name of an impressive World War II radio station viewpoint.

Stay: High Corner Inn, Linwood, near Ringwood, New Forest. Double B&B from £73 (butcombe.com/high-corner-inn-hampshire). 

ON ROBIN HOOD’S TRAIL 

Go hunting for acorns on a walk through Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood and his men once hid

Journey through Sherwood Forest to find Britain’s biggest oak tree, where they say Robin Hood and his men once hid.

Good to know: Look for acorns: the Major Oak sheds 150,000 each year.

Stay: Forest Lodge Hotel, Lyndhurst. Double B&B from £85 (forestlodgehotel.co.uk).

VISIT THE TREE ZOO 

Admire the beautiful colours of the national collection of maples on a walk through Gloucestershire’s Westonbirt Arboretum

Our biggest ‘tree zoo’, Gloucestershire’s Westonbirt Arboretum, has miles of paths between its 2,500 tree species, including the national collection of maples.

Good to know: See more trees at King Charles III’s Highgrove estate next door.

Stay: The Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt. Double B&B from £102 (cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/hare-and-hounds-hotel).

ROMANTIC WANDERS 

Go on an autumn stroll through Wiltshire’s romantic Savernake Forest – it’s here that Henry VIII wooed Jane Seymour 

Savernake Forest likely has Europe’s highest concentration of 1,000-year-old trees. Couples stroll hand-in-hand down Capability Brown’s four-mile line of beeches. Even Henry VIII wooed Jane Seymour in this Wiltshire wood.

Good to know: The Duke’s Vaunt Oak once had a door and a lock fitted to its hollow trunk and could ‘shelter 20 boys inside’.

Stay: Castle & Ball Hotel, Marlborough. Double B&B from £95 (greenekinginns.co.uk).

PUMPKIN PATH 

Look for early morning and late openings for autumn walks in Cornwall’s Lost Gardens of Heligan (above) 

Cornwall’s Lost Gardens of Heligan were rediscovered 32 years ago. Europe’s biggest garden restoration project is full of paths between impressive pumpkins and colourful trees.

Good to know: Look for early morning and late openings for autumn walks.

Stay: Wyndham Trenython Manor, Tywardreath, Near Fowey. Double B&B from £84 (wyndhamtrenythonmanor.com).

MINERS’ TRIUMPH 

County Durham’s Hamsterley Forest was planted by unemployed miners in the 1930s. Follow Forestry England online maps to find Bedburn Valley Walk. Children love it, as it leads to a forest playground.

Good to know: Gruffalo sculptures are hidden in the trees.

Stay: Forresters, Middleton-in-Teesdale. Double B&B from £70 (forrestersmiddleton.co.uk).

WALK AMONG GIANTS 

As you walk through the forest paths of The Hermitage in Perthshire, Scotland, look up to take in views of some of Britain’s tallest trees

Walk under some of Britain’s tallest trees in the National Trust for Scotland’s Hermitage. This Perthshire path leads to a Georgian folly alongside a waterfall.

Good to know: You may spot salmon leaping up the falls.

Stay: New Mill Farm, Stanley. Double B&B from £90 (newmillfarm.co.uk).

OLDEST FOREST PARK 

Glenbranter’s craggy woods in Argyll Forest Park were once the retreat of entertainer Harry Lauder, and now they form Britain’s oldest forest park. It’s a chance to spot red squirrels, red deer…and red leaves.

Good to know: Allt Robuic gorge is full of cascading waterfalls.

Stay: Whistlefield Inn, Loch Eck, Dunoon. Double B&B from £78 (thewhistlefieldinn.com).

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