The autumn season creates some beautiful and enchanting landscapes. The colours associated with autumn occur as trees drain their leaves of chlorophyll in order to hibernate for the winter; many turn into bright colours such as gold, orange, and even in some cases pink. These can completely change what a hike looks like. While the weather may become colder, this often simply means that to go for a hike comfortably you must wrap up warmly to enjoy the outdoors. Many hikes will have cafes or tea houses along the route, so you can stop for a tea or coffee while on your hike or when it is completed. Both Kent and Sussex have some truly incredible walks that are loved by visitors and locals alike.
With Halloween and bonfire night coming up later in the season, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some wonderful walks that are at their most beautiful when enjoyed during autumn.
The beautiful Bewl Reservoir is a fantastic place to go for a walk during autumn. If you arrive at the right time you may see sailing and kayaking classes going on in the water. The path is roughly 12 ½ miles and loops around the entire reservoir, and it can take six hours or more to walk the entire route. If this seems like too long a hike then there are plenty of shorter loops to try where other smaller paths meet the main Bewl route.
Bewl is dog friendly, although it is recommended all dogs are kept on a leash and away from the water to prevent them from coming to harm. Once you have finished your route, the Waterfront Café offers a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a hot chocolate after your walk.
Originally used for hunting deer during Norman times, Ashdown Forest is a free-for-use area in East Sussex, with many visiting each year to walk and enjoy the sights. This area of outstanding natural beauty is a heathland that is home to a vast variety of wildlife and plants. The forest is known for being the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, where the famous children’s stories are set, making this forest a fantastic spot for a walk and picnic with your kids.
The Ashdown Forest Centre can be visited to ascertain which walk you would like to do. The forest as a whole has a variety of different paths and loops of different lengths, depending on how far you want to go.
The Mill Lane walk is near Chichester, with a beautiful start as you walk down a tunnel of trees with a sunken path worn from hundreds of years of use. In the autumn this tree tunnel lights up with beautiful colours ranging from red to gold. Continuing along the route you will pass the Halnaker Windmill, a restored mill that is set in a meadow on the top of the hill. The chalk grassland is a wonderful habitat, with views across West Sussex.
The route runs close to the village of Boxgrove, and if you are feeling peckish after your walk, taking a quick stroll into the village for a coffee can help you wind down after a long day.
The heart of Sheffield Park is the four lakes at the centre of the garden’s design with multiple walking routes of different lengths in the park for visitors to enjoy. There is a deer park and a WW2 camp, with livestock grazing year round. The trees and shrubs can look beautiful in autumn, and many people enjoy walking through the park to the River Ouse which is home to kingfishers and dragonflies. Of particular interest is the Art in the Park trail, with art created by local schools and materials placed along the track leading to the river.
While the park is free to visit, The National Trust asks for a fee to explore the Sheffield Estate and Garden. The Sheffield Estate has a café and a shop for weary walkers to enjoy if you are inclined to explore further.
Devil’s Dyke is made up of ancient chalk grassland which harbours a unique ecosystem. The name comes from the valley itself, the deepest dry valley in the country, where it is rumoured that the devil and his wife are buried. This beautiful landscape offers incredible views of Sussex from the top of the Downs as well as many walking routes passing through farmland that has been cultivated for hundreds of years.
The Downs have stunning views and incredible landscapes, with the chalk hills stretching from the coast almost up to London. There is a wide variety of walks to consider, with many pubs and cafés located in the surrounding villages.
This trail takes walkers through Midhurst and along the river Rother to the Woolbeding Estate. The Woolbeding estate was gifted to the National Trust in 1957 and is famed for the beautiful garden with glasshouses and incredible beds which you can visit on your way past. The estate also contains grazed parkland which most routes pass through, with Herdwick sheep and Sussex cows. The round route will also take you past the Cowdray Estate. The Half Moon Pub is also located nearby if you would prefer to take a quick break in this alehouse instead. If you are looking for parking in the area, then there are places at the Cowdray Café or where the walk begins at the Wheatsheaf pub.
The picturesque village and the historic ruins and estates you can pass on this walk make it a perfect autumn route, with plenty of potential rest stops.
If you are interested in visiting Bewl Water to enjoy the autumn landscapes and want to learn more, then please contact us here. Our staff will be happy to discuss your visit and advise you on where you can find a map and other necessities for your walk.