3 Sep 20 / Newcastle
BEAUTIFUL AUTUMN COUNTRY WALKS
Explore a new path or go off track this season to find yourself some autumn magic. From enchanted woodlands in Dartmoor National Park near Exeter to golden sunset views in Yorkshire, the UK has lots to offer. Our locations and often the sound of a crackling fire are never far away, so you’ll always have somewhere warm and cosy to return to.
To make the choice easier for you, we’ve highlighted some of our favourites here for you.
Hotel du Vin Cambridge
WICKEN FEN NATURE RESERVE - 30 min drive
Although Wicken Fen may not have vast amounts of woodland, it is still possible to see stunning autumn colours on a walk around the reserve. During this time of year the sedge turns a beautiful chestnut colour, which becomes golden in the evenings as the sun sets and lights up the leaves. Wicken Fen features the last surviving wooden wind pump in the Fens, houses konik ponies and offers moderate adventure hiking trails (1.5 hours) or longer cycle routes to discover the wider reserve. This beautiful National Trust site is roughly 30 minutes from Hotel du Vin Cambridge, so the journey “home” to warmth and comfort won’t take long.
Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells
THE WEARDALE WALK - 30 minutes drive
Venture into the Kentish countryside for some fresh air and beautiful views. The Weardale walk, starting from Emmetts Garden, is an easy five-mile circular route through the woodland areas of Toys Hill and Hosey Common, where you’ll find an abundance of vivid colours. It is a pleasant way to spend a sunny autumn afternoon. Keep an eye out for Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s old digs, which you should be passing on your ways.
Plan nearby Knole Park into your return journey, for a deserving cup of tea and a wander, while admiring the many deer. Another popular autumnal outing is a visit to Bedgebury Pinetum, only 30 minutes south east of Tunbridge Wells. The colourful reflection of the pine trees on the lake is a highlight for the keen photographers amongst us.
Hotel du Vin Newcastle
GIBSIDE - 30 minutes drive
The Gibside Skyline walk is a challenging four-and-a-half mile walk in the north-east of England. It should take between four and seven hours, depending on your fitness level. Starting in the Gibside Estate, it will take you out of the Derwent Valley, following a circular skyline walk. During autumn, you get the surreal effect of watching the colour change on the trees below as you follow the path and rise above them. As well as views of spectacular autumnal colours across the valley, your hard work will be rewarded with wonderful wildlife encounters. Gibside is home red kites, roe deer and many other rare animals all of which are more active at this time of the year.
If you prefer a shorter stroll, check out Leazes Park, just 10 minutes from Hotel du Vin Newcastle, for an easy walk and pretty lake views. Use their hollow picture frame for your best autumn shot, before returning to the hotel for a deep bath and Champagne.
Hotel du Vin Exeter
TEIGN GORGE - 30 minutes drive
The 4.1 mile long Teign Gorge walk is the most famous walk on our list. It takes you through a gorgeous valley on the northern fringes of Dartmoor National Park. It starts at Drogo Castle, the last to be built in England, and follows a waterway under the gnarled branches of crooked oaks and beeches. You'll go on to an ancient woodland, that has been slowly brought back to life after centuries of logging, with careful management.
There is no doubt that the gorge is at its best in autumn, the woods glow with orange and brown hues and an ethereal mist hangs over the valleys. At Sharp Tor you will find the best moorland views. After a day of hiking return to the city, take in the sunset cathedral view and then relax and indulge at Hotel du Vin Exeter.
Hotel du Vin York
MIDDLETON WOODS NATURE RESERVE - 40 minutes
Middleton Woods is the largest remaining ancient woodland site in West Yorkshire and is of special importance for nature conservation in Leeds. There are also many historical and archaeological features, including bell pits, from early coal mining and the former routes taken by trams. Although oak dominates the woodland, a variety of other species including birch, hazel, elder, sycamore, beech and sweet chestnut can be found.
After a day of exploring, leave some time to meander around York’s popular sites like the Minster, before tucking into a delicious and deserving dinner at the cosy Bisto du Vin.