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Walks through colourful heathland

Visitors walking along the family trail at Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire, with purple heather in flower on both sides of the path
Visitors walking along the family trail at Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Take a walk amid the heather that blooms on moors and heaths in late summer and autumn. Weaving gently through the haze of tiny heather flowers, which can be in bloom from July to November, you'll catch shades ranging from the deepest beetroot to gentle mauve.

Moorland and heathland wildlife to look out for

It's not just heather that makes moorland and heathland special. The landscape is also an invaluable habitat to an array of wildlife.

Endangered ground-nesting birds, nationally rare reptiles, lots of insects and diverse plant life all rely on this habitat, carefully managed by our rangers.

Every time you visit the heathland for a peaceful walk, you're helping us look after this special place.

'Heathlands are a carpet of harmonious colours, like an artist has set down their palette on the landscape. It instils a sense of serenity in those who walk here.'

– Phil Neagle, ranger for Cheshire and Wirral Countryside

A visitor sits with her back to the camera looking out at the view of the bay at Rhosili and South Gower Coast, Wales, down the cliff to a sandy beach with clear blue seas beyond and sunny blue skies in the distance.
Visitor enjoying the view of the bay at Rhosili and South Gower Coast | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Find a heathland walk near you

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire
Take in the magnificent long-distance views from the moorland and meadows walk. If you pick a sunny, clear autumn day you may even see York Minster. Stumble upon fantastic pondlife, tree stumps of all shapes and sizes, and vibrant heather in the Yorkshire Dales.
Dunwich Heath, Suffolk
Tucked away on the Suffolk coast, Dunwich Heath offers you peace and quiet and a sense of being at one with nature. A rare and precious habitat, the heath is home to special species such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark, ant-lion, adders and much more.Explore Dunwich
Godrevy to Hell’s Mouth coastal walk, Cornwall
This route takes you around Godrevy headland to the dramatic Hell's Mouth and back again, taking in the wonderful heathland of the Knavocks, with exhilarating clifftop pathways and glorious ocean views.Explore the Knavocks' coastal heathland
Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk, North Devon
A varied walk that follows an historic 19th-century carriageway and a section of the South West Coast Path along some of the highest and most dramatic cliffs in England. The views along the coastal heathland and across to Wales are breathtaking.Drink in the views of Heddon Valley
A couple out walking on Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk, with grass in focus in the foreground and heather appearing blurred in the background
A couple out walking on Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra
Holt Heath at Kingston Lacy, Dorset
This walk explores this important lowland heath, which is one of the largest areas of its type in Dorset. It's part of the wider Kingston Lacy estate and is home to plants including common heather, bell heather, cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, sundews and marsh gentian. For reptile enthusiasts, all six of Britain's reptile species can be found here.An autumnal favourite at Holt Heath
Kniver, Staffordshire
The circular heathland walk starts at the old Warden's Lodge, passing through rare heathland habitat to sweeping views from the Iron Age hillfort. Look out for wildlife in this diverse habitat as well as a spectrum of autumn colour.Heathland trail at Kniver
New Forest, Hampshire
The ‘Huff Duff’ trail takes you across a classic New Forest landscape – wide expanses of ancient heathland – as well as peatland, grassland and woods. The trail takes in spectacular open views, and in early autumn, the delicate honey scent and sight of acres of purple heather. Later, the Forest’s silver birch trees develop fluttering canopies of buttery-yellow foliage and fungi in amazing shapes and colours appear. Look out too for rare bird species like the Dartford warbler, and herds of ponies.Spot a variety of wildlife on this walk
Rhossili Down, Swansea
Challenge yourself to walk to the highest point in Gower to enjoy the last blast of colour as the heath on Rhossili Down comes to life in autumn, then descend to one of the most iconic beaches in Wales at Rhossili.Autumn adventure on the Gower
Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains
The Montane heath vegetation on the summit of Slieve Donard with a small area on Slieve Commedagh is a Northern Ireland Priority Habitat, meaning a habitat that’s under threat. It includes some interesting and first recordings for Northern Ireland of the dwarf willow, feeding sawfly and two predatory ground beetles.
A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon

Find a walk

Discover some of the best places for walks, including ancient woodland, stretches of coast and green parkland.

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