There’s a feast for your senses awaiting this weekend – and all you need to do is step outside to enjoy it. Here are eight seasonal walks to try
Pack up the family and head into the countr yside for an autumn walk – we tell you the best spots to head to
With golden leaves, bronze skylines and bountiful harvests, it’s time to head out into the countryside and breathe in the breathtaking landscape.
With hundreds of walks available to download from the National Trust’s website, there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and connect with nature, from bracing hikes to gentle woodland walks with a view.
Parkland TRAIL at SCOTNEY CASTLE
Distance: 2 miles (3.2km)
Take the parkland trail, which loops around the estate and keep an eye to your left as you head downhill for gaps in the golden tree canopies opening up views of the bridge by the moat. You can choose to turn right into Kilndown Wood before looping back up to Scotney’s house.
Paul Micklewright, garden and estate manager, says: “The beech avenue at Kilndown is breathtaking and can be visited by following our red walking route.” A detour into Scotney’s gardens at the end will take you past yellow tulip trees. The 100-year-old purple cut-leaved Japanese maples, below the Bastion, bring visitors back year after year.
Download at: nationaltrust.org.uk/ scotney-castle /trails/scotney-parklandtrail
IGHTHAM MOTE’S circular walk TO WILMOT HILL
Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
Walk the outer edges of the 580acre estate, taking in dense, ancient woodland and vivid views as you go. The trail sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and come autumn, farreaching views mix with the palette of red, yellow and gold.
Looping back to the 14th century manor, a turn in the garden unveils more autumnal treats including cercidiphyllum japonicum (toffee apple tree) near the North Lake which unleashes a smell of burnt sugar from late September to early October. Download at: nationaltrust.org.uk/ ightham-mote /trails/ightham-motescircular -walk-to-wilmot-hill
Octavia HILL centenary TRAIL EAST at EMMETTS GARDEN
Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
Home of National Trust founder Octavia Hill, a stone seat on the approach to Ide Hill village commemorates a life dedicated to social reform and the outdoors.
Head along the trail in the woodland of Toys Hill and Scords Wood, and in Toys Hill hamlet a stunning viewpoint by the well looks over a Wealden wonderland. The route passes by Emmetts – visit the South Garden to see progress in the project to restore Frederick Lubbock’s garden gallery and see a collection of hardy trees and shrubs in red, pink and orange.
Head gardener Matt Scott says: “Our exotic tree collection comes into its own in autumn. The bright red of the winged spindle (euonymus alatus) and golden leaves on the Japanese maple (acer pamatum) are a true wonder to see.” Look out for the autumn display of fungi dotted around the grounds. Download at: nationaltrust.org.uk/ toys-hill/trails/ octavia-hill-centenarytrail-east
SISSINGHURST CASTLE GARDEN ESTATE walk
Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
This gentle trail takes in the highlights of Sissinghurst Castle Garden’s 450acre wide estate where you can see the landscape that inspired Vita SackvilleWest’s world famous garden.
Pass wildlife in abundance and loop through the gardens to see a vibrant palette of fiery reds and golden yellows.
Download at: nationaltrust.org.uk/ sissinghurst-castle-garden/trails/ sissinghurst-castle-estate-walk AND JUST OVER THE BORDER...
KIPLING COUNTRYSIDE walk at BATEMAN’S In EAST SUSSEX
Distance: 2.5 miles (4km)
Venture out onto the wider estate at the home of Rudyard Kipling and it’s easy to see why it inspired fairy tales. And the Wild Garden has ornamental trees and shrubs in their finest colours. Head gardener, Len Bernamont, says: “The amelanchiers and azaleas are among my favourites in autumn.” Download at: nationaltrust.org.uk/ batemans/trails /batemans-kiplingcountryside-walk
There are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and connect with nature