Visit a woodland this autumn for fresh air, great displays of colour and to watch the wildlife prepare for winter. Here are 5 sites that make a great day out.
Hampstead Heath, London
Only a few miles north of central London, visit Hampstead Heath for a panoramic view of the city. The ponds and ancient woodlands are full of life at this time of year with deer, squirrels and ring-neck parakeets busy preparing for the winter. Head to Parliament Hill for the best views.
National Arboretum, Tetley, Yorkshire
A woodland doesn’t get much more colourful than this. Try a seasonal trail around the arboretum to see the best of 3,000 different species of tree. For details of the trail, pick up a leaflet from the Great Oak Hall when you arrive. Throughout the year there are also photography and carpentry workshops, play areas, art installations, orienteering courses and regular concerts.
Hever Castle, Kent
See the striking red Boston ivy covering the side of the castle and look out for the colourful dahlia border in the gardens. There’s a leaflet to guide you along the Walking in the Wild trail with autumnal fungi, edible berries, conkers and hazelnuts.
Sandstone Trail, Cheshire
The 55-kilometre trail crosses rural Cheshire and north Shropshire. Find your favourite part of the route with views of Wales and the Pennines, red sandstone cliffs and a stretch through the ancient Delamere Forest. Look out for prehistoric hillforts, Roman roads, autumn mosses and lowland heath. To complete the whole trail takes several days including stops at historic inns along the way.
Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Easy-access trails include the best of the Chiltern’s beech and oak woods, as well as the chance to spot red kites and watch the annual deer rut along the way. The family-friendly route also has the added bonus of a cosy National Trust tearoom.