Rangers' favourite autumn walks in the North East

Countryside rangers are experts in their field and know the landscape they work in like the back of their hand. There's nobody better to ask about great autumn walks.

Bottlenose dolphins off the coast at The Leas
Walking trail

Ranger Dougie's favourite autumn walk 

Autumn is the most exciting time for spotting unusual wildlife at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas. Whitburn Coastal Park is a hotspot for wintering thrushes. Africa-bound wheatears can often be seen along the cliff tops as well, as can newly arrived snow buntings from Scandinavia. Keep a keen eye out for harbour porpoise and white beaked and bottlenose dolphins too.

Visitor walking towards the chapel at Gibside in autumn
Walking trail

Head ranger Helen's top autumn trail 

A walk at Gibside in late autumn with the oak leaves drifting down can be magical. Sit on the wooden bench at the top of Snipes Dene and look out to the wooded Derwent Valley beyond. You'll quite often see roe deer crossing the steep-sided dene or red kites flying overhead. It’s a beautiful spot when the autumn colours glow in the late afternoon sun.

Explore Cragside on the Armstrong trail
Walking trail

Ranger Martin's favourite autumn walk 

Forget orange, green is the colour of autumn across the Cragside estate. The pinetum is a particularly special place at this time of year – the rows of towering spruce are really spiky across the top. Have a slow meander through; it’s very atmospheric.

Allen Banks in autumn
Walking trail

Ranger Chris' top pick for autumn  

Look closely and the history of Allen Banks reveals itself. 10,000 years ago the melting ice sheets carved the gorge and created the crags we can still enjoy today. There's also lots of reminders of its Victorian past; the tarn, originally dug out as a boating lake for the Victorians, now offers a home to wildlife. On a good autumn day you might spot a dipper, a heron or even an otter or kingfisher. With superb views of the Tyne Valley and Hadrian’s Wall in the distance, a walk to Morralee Tarn is something out of the ordinary.

The River Walk at Wallington at sunrise
Walking trail

Ranger Glen's autumn walk 

The River Walk at Wallington is the ideal way to take in the autumnal light, enjoy the changing colours of the trees and see them reflected in the still ponds in the woods. On the way you can soak up the tranquil atmosphere of the walled garden. Pop into the Edwardian conservatory then stroll along the terrace and look out over the sheltered garden and the parkland to Paine’s Bridge beyond.