Sheffield Park in East Sussex

Sheffield Park in East Sussex (Image: MMGI / Marianne Majerus)

What better time of the year to try a spot of forest bathing? Forest bathing, or “shinrinyoku”, was developed in Japan in the 1980s when scientific studies showed that spending time in a forest or woodland could reduce blood pressure and improve concentration and memory. Combined with beautiful autumn foliage, this means a stroll through the woods is a great way to relax and could even boost your sense of wellbeing. The National Trust and the National Trust For Scotland have picked some of their top walks for autumn colour.


Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex 

Arthur Soames, who owned Sheffield Park during the early 20th century, planted many of the trees specifically for their autumnal foliage. Take a stroll along the estate walk or follow the marked paths to discover the species he introduced, including Nyssa, Acer and Taxodiums. Reflections in the lakes make the perfect photograph.

Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey 

Acres of wild woodland feature more than 1,000 species of trees and shrubs.The paths around Winkworth Arboretum that lead down to the picturesque lake and boathouse are perfect for short walks with all the family.


Stourhead, Wiltshire, King Alfred’s Tower walk 

This five-mile walk takes you up through beautiful mixed woodlands and on a crisp, sunny autumn day the light streaming through the trees makes the foliage even more fiery.

If you need a refresher after all that walking, seek out the Gothic Cottage nestled among the trees.

Castle Drogo, Devon 

Lying on the eastern edge of Dartmoor, the Teign Valley is easy to reach. From the imposing bulk of Castle Drogo, this walk starts on the Hunters Path, with far-reaching views over Dartmoor.

It also passes over the picturesque Fingle Bridge, the perfect spot to pause and drink in the view.

Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey

Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey (Image: © National Trust/John Miller)


Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the Calke Abbey Estate as the park comes alive with the vibrant colours of autumn.

Around 80 fallow deer and 25 red deer live in Calke Abbey’s deer park and the sunlight picks out the colour in their coats.

You can also look out for the foliage of copper beech, silver birch and ancient oaks – not to mention bright red hawthorn berries.


Sutton Hoo, Suffolk 

Brand new for 2019, the River View Walk has been opened up as part of Sutton Hoo’s major transformation.

Now you can explore parts of the estate that weren’t previously accessible and take in the views across the River Deben to Woodbridge. The trail also leads you along plenty of peaceful woodland tracks, which will be tinged with red and gold.

Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk 

With its eye-catching autumn foliage and fungi, the GreatWood at Felbrigg is possibly one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets.

Take a stroll down the beech-lined ‘VictoryV’ avenues, where the towering branches create tunnels of colour over your head. It’s worth making a detour down the Lion’s Mouth as well, where the narrow winding lane flanked by trees really does feel like it is entering the jaws of a fire-coloured lion.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

The house and parkland at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire (Image: © National Trust Images/John Hammond 2011)


Wallington, Northumberland 

Wallington was the home of the Blackett and Trevelyan families for more than 300 years and between them they planted swathes of woodlands that still cover the estate.

The sheer number of trees makes this the perfect place to escape outside during the autumn months and crunch through fallen leaves.

One of the best routes meanders along the banks of the River Wansbeck, crossing over bridges and stepping stones. If you’re lucky you might even spot some of the resident red squirrels.

Borrowdale, Cumbria 

Borrowdale is the most wooded valley in the Lake District so the views and colours are extra special in the autumn.

This trail leads you to the top of Castle Crag, where you can take in the sea of red, gold and russet below.

It’s not hard to see why the famed fell-walker and writer Alfred Wainwright described this as the “finest square mile in Lakeland”.

Borrowdale in Cumbria

Borrowdale in Cumbria (Image: © National Trust Images/John Mall)


Plas Newydd, Anglesey

Whatever time of year you visit you’ll catch a stunning view at Plas Newydd. Take a stroll to some of the estate’s hidden corners and you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas across the Menai Strait and beyond to Snowdonia.

The landscape really comes into its own in autumn, when the woodlands will be blazing and the red squirrels will be hard at work foraging for nuts to last the winter.

Powis Castle, Powys

As the evening light begins to fade and the cooler air arrives, the garden at Powis Castle comes alive with a dazzling display.

Follow the new walking trail and explore borders brimming with shrubby salvias, sedums, asters and tall, deep blue aconites, and from the Great Lawn admire maples and acers glowing in striking shades of gold, orange and yellow in the low autumnal sunshine.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

The Pantheon framed by autumn trees at Stourhead, Wiltshire (Image: © National Trust Images/Tamsin Holmes)


The Argory, County Armagh 

In summer The Argory’s Lime Tree Walk is lush and green but as the year winds down the avenue begins to turn and soon you’ll find yourself strolling underneath a sea of golden leaves.

If you’ve still got some energy left then why not explore further through the riverside woodlands? If you keep a look out, you might even find some blackberries to eat or fallen conkers to collect.

Mount Stewart, County Down 

Voted one of the top 10 gardens in the world, Mount Stewart was designed by Lady Londonderry to be full of colour.

Even in autumn you’ll find bursts of red and gold foliage everywhere, whether you’re taking a short stroll around the gardens or exploring the wider demesne.

The Red Trail is the estate’s main circular walk which loops its way through both fields and woodlands, flanked by bright fiery colours the whole way round.You’ll also get to take in some beautiful views over Strangford Lough.

Glencoe in Scotland

There are walks to suit all abilities in the steep-sided valley of Glencoe in Scotland (Image: Getty Images)



For stunning views and walks to suit adventurers of all levels, few places rival Glencoe. Start the adventure in the newly-refreshed visitor centre to discover tales about the famous glen and the incredible flora and fauna that make their home here.

Then, head out onto the family-friendly trails to see Scotland’s most famous glen in all its glory.

Experienced walkers and mountaineers can test their skills on the more challenging trails.

Killiecrankie, Perthshire 

Where the Highlands meet the Lowlands, the woods are awash with bluebells in the spring but in autumn this wonderful river gorge – where one of the goriest battles in Jacobite history took place in 1689 – is a riot of seasonal hues.

Don’t miss Soldier’s Leap, where a Redcoat jumped 18ft across the River Garry, fleeing the Jacobites.

And you might see red squirrels, woodpeckers and pine martens.

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