Pull on your walking boots this November and enjoy Nature at its most resplendent. Romantic morning mists, clear blue skies, a refreshing nip in the air and the most glorious of deep golden sunsets as the days draw to a close. There’s nothing quite like crunching through a natural carpet of fallen leaves beneath half-clothed trees of burnt orange, fiery scarlet and mellow ochre. Autumn has to be one of the loveliest times of the year for a walk, made nicer with the promise of a comforting hot chocolate at the finishing post.
Capability’s Croome – The Painted Landscape Walk (2.2 miles)
When Capability Brown designed the parkland of the mid-18th century Neo-Palladian mansion Croome Court, he must surely have had Autumn in mind. At this time of year, Croome’s majestic trees put on a show stopping performance, coming together in all their variety to form a rich and spectacular landscape painting. The scene is drenched in glorious colour with jaw-dropping vistas at every turn – in short, a walking photographer’s dream. Starting out from Croome’s National Trust Visitor Centre, the route leads you through the Wilderness Walk past the Church and Shrubbery, the Ice House and the Bird Hide, crossing the Chinese and the Dry Arch bridges. The painting unfolds to reveal the dark magenta shades of the smoke bush, a beautiful beech tree and an ancient example of the mulberry tree with its now gnarled framework of branches. In the Home Shrubbery the mellow yellow and earth brown leaf shades of the oriental plane tree and the glorious maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) are a sight for sore eyes. Standing proud on the lake island a large horse chestnut towers above a blanket of conkers and just before the Grotto, a lime tree and the scarlet berry-laden holly add more splashes of seasonal colour.
Find out more about the Autumn Colour Walk at Croome (NT)
A Walk on The Wild Side – Ravenshill Woodland Reserve Walk (8 miles)
Think of autumn walking, and the semi-natural ancient woodland of Ravenshill springs to mind. Near to the Worcestershire Way, within the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, these 50 acres were once teeming with playful ravens until they were persecuted by the Victorians and gradually disappeared by the 1950s and 60s. Now they’re back and if you’re lucky, you may just catch their playful flight on route. The walk takes in the Knapp Papermill Reserve, where you can marvel at the huge festoons of mistletoe adorning the trees along the way at this time of year. Autumn is the very best time to see a huge variety of fungi species – some barely visible to the naked eye and others as large as dinner plates! Keep a special look out for tree fungi or bracket on the trunks of the many silver birches which thrive in this rich, wildlife habitat, and the vibrant, crimson colour of native spindle. You might even spot Siskin and Crossbill birds, deer, foxes and stoats. The walk finishes in Alfrick.
Find out more about Ravenshill Woodland Reserve.
North Hill – A Patchwork of Autumn Colour (2.5 miles)
For an unrivalled, breath-taking view of the region’s contrasting autumn hues, take a walk (albeit a steep one) out of Great Malvern, up Happy Valley Road, to one of the arguably quieter peaks of the Malvern Hills range – North Hill. From its highest point, looking down and around, you’ll take in a splendid view of the majestic Worcestershire Beacon and a patchwork canvas of rolling hills and flat meadows, dense coppices and open farmland, bathed in the rich reds, flame oranges and coppers, warm yellows and tawny browns of the season. It makes for a different perspective on Autumn colour, and one you can enjoy from up high. The walk begins from the Unicorn Inn at the foot of St. Ann’s Road, passing Ivy Scar Rock and taking in a rocky hairpin bend, stony zig zag paths and Lady Howard de Walden Drive which was cut as a carriageway in the 1890s to circumnavigate North Hill. There’s a perfectly placed bench at the crest of the ridge, from where you can soak up the view of Sugar Loaf Hill. Descend into the glorious Happy Valley passing into an avenue of sycamore trees – beautiful at this time of the year – back down past St. Ann’s Well and the ’99 steps’ into Great Malvern.
Find out more about walking on North Hill.
Tenbury Town Walk (1.6 miles) and Burford House and Gardens extension (1.7 miles – 34 minutes on foot)
For Autumnal days when the going’s not so good, or a less challenging terrain is preferred, why not opt for a gentle stroll round the historic and rather lovely town of Tenbury Wells? The word Tenbury derives from ‘Temebury’ which means ‘the fort on the Teme’, and the town is thought to have been the main trade thoroughfare between Wales and London. Starting out from Tenbury’s charming nineteenth century Pump Rooms, this walk takes in the seventeenth century hostelry, The Crow, Tenby Museum (formerly a school), The Round Market, the twelfth century Norman church of St. Mary’s, the Art Deco style Regal Cinema and views of Castle Tump – thought to be either a Bronze Age burial ground or the base of a wooden Norman keep. You can even walk alongside the lovely River Teme. For an extension to the walk, head towards the lovely Burford House & Gardens, just 34 minutes away on foot. This fine Georgian house (1728) has a twentieth century garden, created by the late John Treasure. It holds the National Clematis Collection but in Autumn, the garden’s many variety of interesting shrubs and trees is a riot of colour.
Image credit: John Hubble