There’s something about autumn that feels magical. Crunchy leaves and vibrant colourful views make this earthy season the perfect time to visit beautiful forests, woodlands, parks and arboretums. Whether you love collecting leaves with your kids, taking beautiful pictures or rather enjoy forest-bathing, you should have no problems finding a green area near you that is putting on a good autumnal show.
CrunchyTales rounds up the top places for those autumnal vibes. So, lace up your walking boots and head to the woods for enchanting foliage.
Westonbirt Arboretum, the Cotswolds
One of the jewels in the UK’s autumnal crown is the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire which attracts thousands of visitors at this time of year. You’ll have access to 17 miles and 600 acres of picture-perfect walking paths, alongside 2 specified special autumn trails (approximately 1 and 2 hours long). This particular woodland is famous for its spectacular Japanese maples, which never disappoint with their amazing tones of red, orange and yellow. The leaves at Westonbirt usually begin to turn around mid-October; by mid-November, the season is coming to an end.
Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Grizedale Forest consists of ten square miles of natural woodland in the Lake District near Coniston Water. Here beech, oak and larch trees mingle with trees planted when the estate was an ornamental park, including maple and copper beech. The forest is famous for the many sculptures by internationally renowned artists, using natural materials such as stone and wood, made in response to the forest landscape. These can be discovered on an extensive network of walking and cycling trails, offering spectacular trips deep into the forest as it turns deep shades of red and gold in autumn.
Thorp Perrow Arboretum, North Yorkshire
Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, not far from the historic town of Bedale, Thorp Perrow is an exciting place to explore offering something for everyone and is home to some of the largest and rarest trees and shrubs in England that in Autumn show off in a stunning seasonal leaf display of golds, oranges, reds, browns and purples. The Arboretum covers 100 acres and is currently home to 5 National Plant Collections and 51 Champion Trees (recorded and designated by the Tree Register of the British Isles).
Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
The perfect location to recharge and relax, Cardinham Woods is found in central Cornwall and has everything you could want from an outdoor adventure. Stroll aside the riverbanks and enjoy the sight of the oak, alder, rowan and willow trees in strong surges of reds, oranges and delicate golds. The diverse woodland is full of secret glades, allowing you to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life into a haven of natural beauty. Stream-side paths, fresh air and stunning viewpoints make Cardinham Woods a wonderful spot for all.
Richmond Park, London
The park is a top UK site for ancient trees and supports a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers. Just a stone’s throw from central London, Richmond Park with its wide-open, spaces, grasslands and deer herds, offers a chance to soak up the rich colours of autumn with a walk or cycle when the leaves of the park’s oak trees are tinted a deep orange. It’s a national nature reserve, the largest of London’s royal parks, and three times the size of New York’s Central Park.
A visit to the woods during this spectacular season is always a treat. Don’t forget to grab your woolly scarf, pull on your wellies and venture out into the crisp autumn air. For more information, the Woodland Trust has a list of the best woods for autumn colours. Forestry England also offers a guide on the best trails in the wilderness.
Good To Know
Why do leaves change colour in autumn?
According to botanists, fewer sunlight hours and cooler temperatures reduce the need for chlorophyll in leaves in autumn. As the pigment breaks down, the xanthophylls and carotenes become more visible, producing a stunning array of yellow and red hues.