Best walks for autumn highlights

Autumn is a time of wonder when the natural world turns a kaleidoscope of colour and landscapes come alive with wildlife activity. Exploring the parks, coast and countryside we look after on foot is a great way to experience this magical time of year, and there are lots of different autumn highlights to enjoy on local walks near you.

Please check the property homepage for the trail you'd like to explore before travelling to see if there have been any changes made due to social distancing.

Autumn leaves with the sunshine lighting them up

Find your calm on a local autumn walk

Walking outdoors during autumn can restore a sense of calm. Feel the freshness of the cooler air, hear the birds sing in the trees as the leaves rustle beneath your feet and see the colours transform as the season changes. Everyone needs nature to feel calmer, and you can escape to a world of colour and peace during autumn. Forget your busy life when you take a walk through an autumn forest near you.

What's the best time to see autumn leaves in the UK?

Officially, autumn equinox is 22 September. The best time to start looking for that first tint of autumn is mid-September, and depending on where you are, autumn colour often reaches its peak from mid-late October. Get wrapped up warm and spot those splashes of colour.

Autumn walks near me

What causes the leaves to change in autumn?

These autumnal colours don't come about by accident — behind the hues lie a careful balance of natural environmental reactions, resulting in the palette you'll see in special places this autumn.

The development of autumn colour begins its process according to the conditions of the seasons that come before. It’s the steady decrease in sunlight hours during September and October that triggers green leaf chlorophyll to break down, revealing dazzling autumn tones below.

Throughout the year, factors like temperature, moisture and sunlight all contribute to the vibrancy of the autumn colours. A wet spring, a hot summer, followed by sunny autumn days and frosty nights usually makes for a dazzling leaf display.

Blackbird on a fence at Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Autumn nature and wildlife to look out for

There are lots of animals feeding up in the woods before winter. Badgers feed on berries, nuts and fungi. Deer will also eat acorns and fruit to supplement their diet.

Birds grow new winter coats. You might see a sleek dark blackbird with a spotty brown head or a white-spotted winter-plumaged starling with the pale brown head of a youngster.

The deer in Knole Park

Autumn wildlife walks 

Autumn is a great time to get out on a walk to spot wildlife. Deer ruts, seal pupping and the arrival of over-wintering birds are all spectacles unique to this time of year. You can also spot fungi of all shapes, colours and textures on woodland floors and the trees.

Latest visiting update 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​

Help to plant woodlands
Visitors enjoying an autumnal hike with the dog on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland

Help plant more trees 

Nature needs our help, so start warming up and move for trees this autumn. Challenge yourself to complete 50km of activity during October, and raise money to help plant more trees. However you go the distance, every £5 you raise will plant a sapling, and bring us one tree closer to a greener future.