The joys of an evening stroll

Horses on the North Devon coast at sunset

Now the long summer days and lighter evenings are here, take advantage of the extra light by heading out on a walk until sundown. At this quieter time of day you can see your favourite places transformed by the changing light of the evening sun, see different wildlife emerging at dusk and find the perfect viewpoint to watch the sun sinking beneath the horizon.

We spoke to some of our rangers about their favourite places to visit on a summer evening:

Taking in the sunset at Leith Hill, Surrey

Sophie Parker, Area Ranger for Leith Hill, Surrey

‘Long summer evenings are the perfect time to explore the great outdoors’, says Sophie. ‘Not only does it mean you can escape the heat of the summer sun but the colours at sunset can be magical. There's something really special about watching the sun lower in the sky; the different pinks, oranges and yellows that fill the air, tinting the landscape and showing everything in a new light.'

A view of the west front of Leith Hill Tower
A view of the West Front of Leith Hill Tower, Dorking, Surrey
A view of the west front of Leith Hill Tower

'It's also a wonderful time to explore wildlife; look up and you might catch a glimpse of a bat flitting between the trees. If you are really lucky, like we are here on Leith Hill, you might catch a nightjar ‘churring’; it is a sound like no other, it gave me goose bumps the first time I heard it.’ 

A chance to unwind on the south Devon coast

Emma Reece, Area Ranger for south Devon

'I love walking my dog Charlie in the early evening in summer.' says Emma. 'The sites have quietened down from the daytime so you can walk down to the sandy Soar Mill Cove, near Salcombe, for a quiet swim. The views across the cliffs as you walk up towards Bolberry car park are beautiful and remind me how lucky I am to work on this area of coastline.'

Sunset over the South Devon coast
 Sunset over the South Devon coast
Sunset over the South Devon coast

'There are lots of whitethroat, cirl bunting and skylarks singing along the coast path and I often see the small herd of roe deer at this time of day. As the sun gets lower in the sky the area feels really tranquil and unspoilt, it’s a very relaxing end to a hectic day.'

Find a high viewpoint in the Lake District

Penny Webb, Lead Ranger for the North Lakes

If you are looking to add a little more adventure to your evening walk, our rangers in the Lakes suggest trying somewhere with a great sunset vista like from the Claife Viewing Station at Windermere west shore.

Lead Ranger for the North Lakes, Penny Webb, says one of the best things about getting outside in the evening is having the time 'for our senses to retune with the calming evenings.'

Wasdale Head
A hiker stands at Wasdale Head, Cumbria, as a magnificent sunset colours the sky
Wasdale Head

She enjoys watching the 'wheeling and soaring swallows and house martins as they frenziedly feed on the early evening insects' whilst she goes walking. 

" I’m lucky enough to help look after this special place, the evenings are my favourite time to soak up the views. Once the summer crowds have gone home, you feel like you’re the only person in the Lake District."
- Paul Farrington, Area Ranger for Hawkshead and Windermere west

A coastal sunset

Hannah Burton, Visitor Experience Assistant, North Devon countryside

Further down south you might be lucky enough to live near the coast. Visitor Experience Assistant, Hannah Burton, who works in the North Devon countryside, loves being close to the sea.

A summer sunset looking out towards Lundy Island
A summer sunset looking out towards Lundy Island
A summer sunset looking out towards Lundy Island

‘Personally, I love evening walks out to Baggy Point, near Croyde. There are often amazing sunsets with far-reaching views out to Lundy Island. Very quiet and peaceful too, often at odds to what the busy summer days are like on the beach! The contrasting vista of the sky on a textured beach or wooded area can be glorious in the early evening light.'

Why not stay out later to enjoy the full sunset, but remember to bring a torch if you are planning to wait for the stars to come out. 

Where will your evening walk take you? 

A view over Baggy Point, Devon

Baggy Point, Devon 

An easy walk that's great for families, taking you along the west side of Baggy Point, with far-reaching coastal and sea views. This is an excellent route for bird-watching and if you have a keen eye you may see seals.

Highland cattle grazing on the cliffs in South Devon.

Bolberry Down and Saw Mill Cove, Devon 

Follow in Emma's footsteps and head out to explore the south Devon coast on an evening stroll. Keep your eyes peeled for cirl buntings, roe deer and skylarks as you head down to the golden sands of East Soar Cove.

Chalk grassland at sunset

Chilterns countryside, Buckinghamshire 

Walking in the Chilterns has it all, from sweeping views across the Aylesbury Vale, to classic beech woodlands, red kites and mysterious looking ant hills. Imagine these vistas bathed in the evening light.

Sun set at Divis and the Black Mountain

Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast 

The walk offers the opportunity to enjoy 180-degree views across the city and further afield, including the Antrim Plateau to the north, Scotland to the east and Mourne Mountains to the south. You will see how the landscape changes at sundown

Photograph of Mist coming through Trees

Leith Hill, Surrey 

Feeling inspired by Sophie to visit Leith Hill? Take in the sweeping views across Surrey and as dusk draws in, keep your eyes peeled for bats and maybe even a nightjar.

A surfer leaves the water as the sun sets over Wembury

Wembury, Devon 

The route around Wembury Point is the perfect place for a ‘maritime walk’; let your gaze wander out to sea and watch the ships and boats on the water.