Wilderness walks in the UK
By Jessica Pook – September 2020 – 2 minute read
As the temperature cools and the leaves begin to change, we look at some of the most atmospheric rambles for a walking holiday this autumn.
The number one reason for visiting the Scottish Highlands in the autumn… no midges! These pesky critters die off at the first sign of frost so you’re free to roam without the stylish net headpiece.
The Scottish Highlands are the most romantic in the autumn months, when the low sun shimmers on Loch Oich and the mountainous scenery turns a shade of orange.
With walking routes stretching for hundreds of miles, Scotland is home to some pretty challenging walks that can span for days. Rambles such as The Great Glen Way, between the towns of Fort William and Inverness, incorporates beauty spots like Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the forests surrounding Loch Ness. Alternatively, The Loch Ness 360 Trail is a concentrated 80 mile loop around Nessy’s watery home.
Forest of Dean
Autumn is the perfect time to go foraging in Herefordshire’s Forest of Dean.
Mushrooms, nuts, wild garlic and blackberries are all staples in this forest region. However, venturing with an approved Forager is advised as some produce can be poisonous.
The pretty village of Symonds Yat is one of the most iconic spots in the Forest of Dean. From here circular walks to Yat Rock offer incredible views over the River Wye, it is also possible to spot peregrine falcons from this vantage point.
Those after a longer stretch can hike a part of the Wye Valley Walk, a 218km hike that follows the length of the River Wye through forests, ravines, orchards and meadows.
New Forest National Park
Surrounded by towering firs and redwoods, the New Forest in Hampshire glows with autumnal hues and pops of pink and purple heather in the autumn months.
Crunching leaves and wild ponies make walking here a great family activity and from September pannage pigs are let loose to snuffle up any fallen acorns.
The Blackwater Arboretum trail takes you on a circular woodland walk home to a collection of trees from all over the world. Venture out early to enjoy crisp, misty walks under the canopy and take in the fresh scent of pine before warming up in a traditional English pub.
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Autumn through to winter is a great time to visit the Yorkshire Dales for a walking holiday.
Cooler climes create better hiking conditions and the increase in rainfall makes for spectacular waterfall watching.
Aysgarth Falls in Lower Wensleydale are amongst the most impressive in the area, where the River Ure cascades over a triple flight of waterfalls. The thundering falls were used as a filming location for the 1991 film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and have attracted many admirers since. Follow the river through the local nature reserve for the chance to spot red squirrels and roe deer.