There’s nothing quite like a walk on a crisp autumn day for unwinding and getting some exercise in the process.
While the UK is filled with brilliant autumn walks , there are some spots that need to be on your radar if you’re looking to add a touch of mindfulness to the experience.
In fact, ‘forest bathing’ has become a popular wellness trend, with evidence that visiting a forest can have a positive impact on your wellbeing and reduce stress.
Liz O’Brien, Forest Research, explains: “Woodlands can help to restore our health and wellbeing. If you visit the forest in autumn, the rainbow of colours, the scent of the trees and the sounds of the forest can leave you feeling calm, focused and positive.”
With over 1,500 forests and woods in England – and over half of the population living within six miles of their nearest forest – choosing where to go can be somewhat overwhelming.
Luckily, Forestry England are on hand to help you narrow it down as they shared their top picks of the top 10 best mindful walks in the UK.
Check out their suggestions below…
1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
The Autumn Trail offers up a glimpse of what autumn brings around the world, whether you want to discover the best of the British countryside or find a quiet spot under a Japanese maple in Acer Glade.
2. Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
The Be Here Now Trail is approximately 1.5 miles and is quite a gentle route, making it ideal for a leisurely and scenic stroll.
The route offers views of Bedgebury’s tree collection as well as the Dallimore valley and lakes.
3. Blackwater, New Forest
The Walk the Tall Trees trail here is approximately 1.5 miles and, as the name suggests, takes you on a trail amidst the towering Douglas fir and mighty redwoods – it’s well worth taking a pause just to look up and take it all in.
The path itself is a fairly smooth gravelled surface and there are plenty of resting places along the way.
4. Fineshade Wood
The three-mile-long Dales Wood trail takes between one and two hours to complete, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to be out for a few hours rather than a full day’s adventure.
Expect bursts of colour thanks to the broadleaved trees with their golden, red, purple, orange and brown offerings.
If you are after a challenge, the six-mile-long Mill Wood walk is also quite popular.
5. Dalby Forest
The Adderson Rigg trail measures about 1.5 miles and takes you into the heart of Dalby Forest, as you follow the paths through a wide array of woodland.
There are some pretty spectacular views, and it’s easy to get that peak relaxed feeling thanks to the peaceful atmosphere.
6. High Lodge at Thetford Forest
The walking trail here is about three miles, and is ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle to be found at other popular spots.
The trail leads you into the heart of the fairytale-esque forest, where you can soak in the calm surroundings and vibrant colours.
The Broomfield Loop is approximately 1.5 miles and offers a gentle, undulating walk on surfaced paths.
There’s plenty to see as you wander through the woodlands, meadows, orchards and ponds; an ideal way to restore your mood and rejuvenate.
8. Moors Valley
The Look Out route, 1.5 miles, is a lovely meandering trail for those who like to take in their surroundings while also taking their time.
Away from the bustling visitor centre, the trail leads you to the Look Out with its spectacular views across the valley.
9. Wyre Forest
The Buzzard trail, measuring 3.25 miles, is ideal if you’re looking to explore the depth of the forest.
The mixed woodlands offer everything from majestic old oaks to forest tracks and winding narrow paths that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into a children’s storybook.
Oh, and make sure to check out the Wyre Aboretum – it’s an ideal spot for slowing down.
10. Grizedale Forest
The 3.5 mile-long Grizedale Tarn Trail sees you following the relaxing sounds of a stream as you leave busy forest paths in favour for quieter woodland spots.
The forest is filled with breathtaking trees and flowers with bursts of red, orange and gold to be found, not to mention the ancient broadleaf trees are pretty spectacular.