Autumn is officially here! The leaves are crisp, rich in shades of gold and brown, and the air is fresh as the breeze gently wanders through the light blue sky. With this in mind, we can think of nothing better than heading out for a peaceful Sunday morning walk. But where shall we go?
Grab a warm coffee, wrap up warm and put your pooch on their leash as we guide you through five of the most beautiful countryside trails the UK has to offer.
Waterfall Country, Pontneddfechan, Brecon Beacons
The sound of water rushing, gurgling and dripping over stone fills the ears. This is a place of movement, colour and sound, of our very own Celtic rainforest.
Nestled into the southern slopes of the Fforest Fawr massif, west of Merthyr Tydfil, Waterfall Country is one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Fforest Fawr Geopark.
It lies within the the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan which are all worth a visit if you fancy stopping off for a drink or lunch along the way.
The area contains two Sites of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation with fine specimens of sessile oak and ash trees and over 200 species of mosses, liverworts, and ferns. Waterfall Country receives around 300,000 visitors a year, including walkers, outdoor groups, photographers, climbers, cavers and canoeists.
The most famous waterfall is Sgwd-y-Eira, the Snow Waterfall, on the River Hepste, where a natural path leads right behind the curtain of water.
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
One of Britain’s biggest oak forests covers more than 40 square miles between the Wye and Severn rivers, you’ll find the Forest of Dean. Sheltered beneath the canopy of ancient oak woodland, Forest of Dean offer an escape from everyday life, allowing you the time to be truly at one with nature.
This is where the boughs of the cider orchards hang heavy and the rivers offer fishing, canoeing and even one of the world’s biggest tidal surges, the Severn Bore.
Amongst the unique landscape of forested hillsides, prepare to be enchanted by castles, museums and cathedrals aplenty, foodie spots to satisfy, and gorgeous places to stay from log cabins, cute cottages to stylish boutique hotels and quirky glamping spots.
Roseberry Topping, Cleveland
It takes approximately 30 minutes to walk up Roseberry Topping and the view from the top is well worth the climb. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the area, attracting families and walkers wearing everything from flip flops to full hiking kits.
It forms a symbolic image of the area and featured as the logo for the county of Cleveland. At 1,049 feet, Roseberry Topping was traditionally thought to be the highest hill on the North York Moors; however, the nearby Urra Moor is higher, at 1,490 feet.
The area affords a habitat for moorland animals and birds. The Cleveland Way National Trail runs by the foot of the hill, and a spur of the trail leads up to the summit of the Topping. A trail links Roseberry Topping to Captain Cook’s Monument on Easby Moor.
Aira Force waterfall, Ullswater, Lake District
The ‘Tree Trail’ winds through deep wooded gorges leading to England’s most famous waterfall. Wordsworth was inspired to write a poem after this woodland walk, so it’s definitely one worth doing. In the 1780s, the Howards of Greystoke Castle landscaped around the waterfall, planting half a million trees and building tracks, footpaths and bridges.
For 300 years visitors have been drawn here, where rainwater runs from the fells into Aira Beck and thunders in one 65-foot leap over the falls. Yet, Aira Force is much more than an impressive waterfall. A network of trails weaves its way from Ullswater lakeshore to Gowbarrow summit, passing towering Himalayan firs, rare red squirrels, woodland glades, picnic spots and views out across Ullswater.
According to Trip Advisor, you can start your day in Glenridding and arrive by boat, taking in the sights of Ullswater Valley along the way, then stroll back to Glenridding through Glencoyne Park and along the lakeshore. Ullswater valley is truly breathtaking, with its beautiful lake nestled amongst towering fells.
Reviewers say the “epic scenery and relative underdevelopment compared to other areas of the Lake District gives Ullswater a secluded and tranquil feel.”
Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Sherwood Forest, the legendary stomping-ground of Robin Hood, is a 450 acre country park in Nottinghamshire. Visitors should definitely stop beside the Major Oak, a huge gnarled tree that has been here since the Viking era. Legend says Robin Hood hid inside and it’s now the UK’s biggest oak – it sheds 150,000 acorns a year.
During peak seasons and school holidays, there are guides in traditional medieval costumes in the forest, offering information to visitors, each with fantastic knowledge, focused on a range of topics from the diversity of the woodland to the ballads of Robin Hood – their stories are designed to make visits interesting, memorable and fun.