Talk a walk on the wild side this autumn
We all know that walking is good for you and as part of the Great British Walk campaign, the National Trust has unearthed some of the real benefits of an old fashioned stroll.
Their recent research, carried out with Cotswold Outdoor, revealed that a walk by the sea will, on average, keep you asleep for an extra 47 minutes. It also helps you feel calmer (83%), make you happier (82%) and offer a sense of escapism (62 %). What’s not to like?
There are hundreds of walks and plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, connect with nature and supercharge those feelings of wellbeing at National Trust locations and between 19 September and 23 October, the only trouble is choosing what to do first.
Brownsea Island wildlife walk
Brownsea’s stunning landscape offers a peaceful haven for visitors and red squirrels alike. Autumn is the perfect time to watch these funny creatures foraging sweet chestnuts, beeches and hazel amongst the ornamental scarlet oaks from North America. The Brownsea Island wildlife walk lets you see view spot sea lavender, sika deer, as well as a huge variety of birds and those lovely red squirrels.
Autumn Colour Trail at Ashridge
This route leads you through spectacular woodland and parkland with hills to climb and breath-taking views of autumnal colour to view. The final stretch of the trail offers a stunning palette of colours provided by the beech, oak and lime trees, and if you have the time to climb the monument, the views of autumn splendour are dazzling. Lucky wildlife spotters may catch a glimpse of the resident muntjacs or fallow deer herds through the trees.
Baggy Point to Woolacombe circular walk
This ten mile circular walk takes hikers around Baggy Point, along the sand dunes of Woolacombe Warren and back along the beach with breath-taking views of the coast. Woolacombe’s golden sands stretch for three miles and the waves that break on its shores attract surfers from around the world. With opportunities to climb, coasteer and surf on world-renowned waves, this is a great route for adventurous spirits. It’s also an excellent route for wild flowers and bird watching, so there really is something for everyone.
Ickworth ‘Off the beaten track’ walk
This five-mile route takes you off the beaten track to explore the lesser-known paths of Ickworth, a beautiful location. The tranquility of the park provides a safe haven for many animals, including birds, lizards, toads and even herds of deer, so it’s a great place to keep an eye out for wildlife. A blustery autumn walk wouldn’t be complete without a cosy café at the end and conveniently there’s the restaurant ready to serve you a nice cuppa and a slice of cake – the perfect break for tired legs.
Wasdale, Lake District Two Day Walk
With natural woodlands, towering mountains and winding paths down to England’s deepest lake, it’s easy to see why views over the glittering Wasdale are the best in the country. This two-day walk takes in the monumental landscape of the western Lakes, as well as a hike to the summit of Scafell Pike to make this a truly spectacular hike. The walk is set on land owned by, or leased to, the National Trust and you can camp in the beautiful Wasdale campsite, nestled under the Scafell mountain range at the head of Wastwater. What a stunning place to wake up!
Cliveden walking trail
It was the striking view of the River Thames that persuaded the second Duke of Buckingham to build his home in this spot. In the centuries since people have continued to be drawn to Cliveden for its scenic location: George Canning (who had a brief stint as Prime Minster in 1827) spent many hours sat under a giant oak tree looking out to the Thames, while Jerome K. Jerome, author of the 1889 novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’, described Cliveden Reach as ‘perhaps the sweetest stretch of all the river’. The estate’s miles of woodland paths provide great walks with stunning views around every corner. The Japanese water garden is also worth a visit, especially in the autumn when the trees begin to turn to the vibrant russets and reds of autumn.
Kinder Moorland Walk
For stunning views it’s hard to beat the windswept heights of the Kinder plateau, one of the Peak District’s striking areas of upland gritstone. The climb up is challenging, but at the top you are rewarded with a spectacular sweep across the Vale of Edale and the rugged moorland landscape.
The only problem is where to go first!