Autumn walks to remember

Girls playing in autumn leaves at Box Hill, Surrey

An autumn walk is the perfect way to escape your daily routine and shake off the cobwebs.

Venture outside to kick up golden leaves and look out for foraging wildlife, or enthrall the kids with stories of dragons and giants that are said to have roamed the ancient landscapes we care for.

Experts from our recommended outdoor retail partner Cotswold Outdoor have also shared their thoughts on what makes walking at this time of year so special.

'Long-lasting memories'

Walking in autumn is special for many different reasons. For Shamara Press from Cotswold Outdoor Belfast, it's the warm colours of the landscape and the crunch of the leaves under her feet.

One of her favourite walking spots is along the coast of Northern Ireland near Giant’s Causeway – a landscape of cliffs and basalt columns surrounded by the lively North Atlantic ocean. According to legend the columns are the remains of a causeway built by Irish giant Finn McCool to reach his rival, the Scottish giant, Benandonner.

With all its early-morning mists and moody skies, autumn is the perfect time to explore places of myth and legend. 

'Puddle jumping is a must'

There’s plenty for kids to enjoy on an autumn walk too. Looking for conkers, jumping through puddles and identifying wildlife are just some of the things you can do to keep them entertained.

Shamara says: ‘Puddle jumping is a must. I bring along a book about trees, and we see how many we can spot along the way. I also get the kids to collect things such as conkers, leaves or sticks.'

‘Going on a walk is a great way of getting away from screens, having proper conversations and creating memories', she says. 

'Beautiful aerial formations'

Wildlife is busy in autumn and walking around the places we care for is one of the best ways to see it. Red squirrels are gathering nuts and hunkering down for winter, birds are arriving from the north and male deers are rutting to win over females. 

Autumn at Blakeney Point is a season of change. Most of the terns that came for the summer have set off for warmer climes, while large numbers of wildfowl are returning from the Arctic for a mild winter. 

Ryan Doggart, a National Trust ranger for the Norfolk coast, says: ' A true highlight of this season is watching flocks of hundreds of pink-footed Geese, in beautiful aerial formations, coming in off the sea against autumnal golden skies.'

Blakeney Point has one of the largest grey seal colonies in the UK.  At the end of the season the seals and their pups can be seen all over the western beaches. The area is closed off to make sure the seals don't get disturbed but visitors still get amazing views from other parts of the reserve. 'Their other-worldly wails as they shuffle about on the ground are one of the great sounds of nature', says Doggart. 

Brent geese at Strangford Lough

Wildlife walks 

From migrating birds to slumbering seal pups, the beaches, countryside and parkland we look after are full of wildlife at this time of year.

Visitors enjoying one of Bristol Astronomical Society's stargazing evenings at Tyntesfield, Somerset

Watch the stars 

Venture away from towns and cities for clear skies full of sparkling stars. From the ink-black skies of Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire to the gently lapping shores of Pembrokeshire in Wales, we care for some magical stargazing spots.

Inspiring the nation to explore

As our official outdoor retail partner, Cotswold Outdoor is supporting us to look after coast and countryside. Don’t forget National Trust supporters receive 15 per cent discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online.*

*Full T&Cs apply. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. This offer is redeemable on production of your National Trust membership card in-store, or both members and our other supporters can email to receive a discount code to use online or in-store. Offer expires 31/12/19.