7 Best Autumnal Walks in South England

Its official, summer is over here in the UK. Our shortlived blue skies have been replaced by grey clouds and red leaves all over on the ground. Despite the darker evenings and the colder temperatures, autumn is my favourite time of year. I love how autumn looks, the lead up to Halloween and Christmas plus the seasonal drinks Costa and Starbucks bless us with every year.

I love to get out and about in the autumn to make the most of the daylight. I have done quite a few long weekends away over the years in October/November time so beautiful places to walk as the colours are changing are right up my street. Without further a’do, here are my favourite autumnal walks across the UK

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead is an estate in the southwest of Wiltshire with a Palladian mansion, historical sculptures, and gardens surrounding a man-made lake. The estate is owned by the National Trust and is a great way to spend a few hours in the morning or afternoon. The Palladian mansion was inspired by Italian architecture seen in Bellagio, Lago di Como. If you have been to Bellagio, you will definitely see the resemblance. You can have a walk around the house and as usual, there are national trust volunteers around to tell you the history as you go around.

The walk around the lake and around the gardens takes just over an hour, unless you’re like me and sit in random places to take in the scenery. When the leaves on all the trees start to change colour, it is truly stunning. Apart from the odd hill, this is a walk that is accessible to everyone and has some amazing historic gems on the map that are either hidden away or up high to give you an even greater view.

Currently, due to coronavirus, you have to book in advance online here before you visit.

Savernake Forest, Wiltshire

Perfect for dog walkers. Mostly because this 9km+ walk will surely tire out your dog for a little while. Situated in Wiltshire, Savernake Forest has a few routes you can take. This is an ancient forestry just south of Marlborough well known for holding the highest concentration of veteran trees in Europe making it the perfect place to visit if you are looking to surround yourself with leaves and autumnal trees.

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Located just outside Poole harbour, Brownsea island is somewhere I haven’t been for a while but was the place to go on October half term when I was a child/young teenager. Well known for being the site full of wildlife and their infamous red squirrels, the island is full of trees that turn beautiful shades of orange and red through the autumn. There are plenty of things to do and nature trails to enjoy. It’s a great place if you have children as they often put things of for kids to keep them entertained as well as having play areas.

To get to Brownsea Island, get the ferry from Poole Quay. They run every half hour and the journey takes about 10 minutes. Currently, due to coronavirus, you have to book for entry to the main part of the island online here before you visit.

Wimbleball Lake, Somerset

Wimbleball Lake is part of a resovoir on Exmoor in Somerset. Surrounding the lake is a lovely walk among the trees and alongside the lake. From the carpark, you have a scenic walk until you reach the dam. I love walking across the top of this, the drop is huge and it’s just so interesting to see. Near the car park is a cafe that does a lovely cream tea, perfect for stopping into once you have been for a walk.

Entry to Wimbleball Lake is free, but you may need to pay a small fee for parking.

Westonbirt, Cotswold District

Westonbirt is one of the most stunning forestries in the UK. I will probably be a bit biased as I have so many amazing childhood memories with my parents here, but the scenery is stunning and in the winter, they light the forest up at night in amazing colours, and is a truly magical experience. I will touch more on that when the festive posts begin. Westonbirt has a great nature trail but also has other attractions such as a treetop walk, a house, and gardens to explore.

Guess what? Due to coronavirus you have to book in advance online here before you visit.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum - Cotswolds

Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex

Located 5 miles north of Brighton, Devil’s Dyke is a beautiful and bright place to visit all year round. In the autumn, you are surrounded by a sea of red, orange’s and yellows. As part of a valley in South Down’s way, you are sure to get stunning panoramic views from the top.

Although part of the National Trust, you don’t need to book a ticket to visit. However, this spot is always highly popular and once the car parks full, there is nowhere else to park. I recommend getting there early or just after lunchtime before the afternoon walkers turn up.

New Forest, Dorset

New Forest is just my childhood wrapped into a forest. There are so many walks and trails around this area as it’s essentially a national park and a massive nature reserve. There are attractions and things to do across the area but it autumn, the forestry is absolutely magical. My favourite place walk is Bolderwood Deer Spotting Trail.

Bolderwood is a stunning walk and is so pretty in the Autumn. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot deer from the deer viewing platform. I have been twice and been lucky on both occasions to be able to see them. There are a few routes to choose from depending on how far you want to walk, each giving you an opportunity to view the deer.

The Deer Watch Trail – 0.5 miles (Yellow Route), Jubilee Grove Trail – 1 mile (Green Route), and Radnor Trail – 2 miles (Red Route). Here is a PDF of the map you may find useful.

Walking Into Autumn

Even with the ongoing pandemic, I want to continue writing about what we can do to still get out and explore this Autumn. As the evenings get darker and we aren’t able to go out as much, I think it’s still important to feel seasonal and autumnal, so I will also include ideas that will transport you somewhere even if you are currently unable to leave the house. As always, if you have any ideas or you just want to message me during this difficult time, you can reach me on Instagram – @sunseaandsolo

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