A collection of autumnal walks for all the family
Woodland Trust Hainault Forest Walk, London
Located a stone’s throw from London, with easy access by car and rail, Hainault Forest is perfect for the whole family – even the dog, although it’s worth taking a look at the woodland trust’s dog-walking guidelines before you go.
At this time of year you’ll see ancient trees with leaves turning orange and unusual fungi including fly agaric, jade-green elf cups and angel’s bonnets. Mushrooms can be beautiful, but they can also be highly toxic; taking photos is encouraged but leave mushroom picking to the experts.
There are walks varying from 4 to 10 miles, all of which are well sign-posted. There are also three paved walkways suitable for wheelchair users.
To reduce litter and help maintain the forest for years to come, you could take along your very own keep cup filled with your favourite warm drink. We’d recommend the KeepCup LongPlay which will keep both your drink, and hands, warm on a cold day.
Aysgarth Waterfall accessible walk, Yorkshire Dales
Developed as part of the ‘miles without stiles’ project by the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this walk is wheelchair accessible.
The path meanders along the river, with viewing platforms for all three waterfalls, most of which are wheelchair friendly – those with manual wheelchairs may need some help on the rougher terrain.
Alive at this time of year with blazing leaves and fast flowing water from the autumn rains, the Aysgarth Waterfall walk is one not to be missed.
The weather at this time of year is wet and in the Dales it can change quickly. Make sure you’re wearing sensible footwear, like the boots from the Dunlop Protective Footwear range, available from their online shop. As the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’.
After you’ve finished your walk, you can return to the visitors centre. There’s a small café serving refreshments and a gift shop, both of which are wheelchair accessible. Blue badge parking and Radar toilets are also available.
Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The National Trust’s Ashridge Estate near Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire really comes into its own in autumn. The estate’s stunning ancient oak and beech woodland has miles of footpaths to explore and wonderful views looking out across surrounding downland hills.
Many of the paths are wheel friendly and three accessible routes lead out from the visitor centre. The visitor centre is closed at the moment due to Covid, but toilets are available between 10 am and 4 pm, the outdoor café is open, and dogs on leads are welcome.
Fallow deer are an integral part of this landscape and a much-loved feature of the estate. The breeding season starts as the weather starts to turn colder around the end of October and when you may hear the bucks making their loud deep groaning calls to attract a female.
Ashridge is a wonderful place for an autumn walk, with plenty of space to explore less trodden paths and glorious woodland sights, sounds and scents to bring the senses alive.