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Top ten autumn walks

Discover the best places to see seasonal colours with our pick of the most vibrant autumn beauty spots

A couple with their dog walking along a trail

Autumn is a spectacular season as trees transform from lush greens into stunning displays of red, gold and brown and landscapes are clothed in a palette of rich colours.

Venture out on the boardwalk over the raised bog at Cors Caron National Nature Reserve to admire an array of brown, gold and maroon colours or wander through the forest garden in Coed y Brenin Forest Park where the leaves turn at different times during the autumn. Beech trees put on a long and colourful display during autumn and a great place to see these seasonal shades is the riverside trail through the beech woodland at Tan y Coed.

Enjoy views full of autumn hues from the Ridgetop Trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre in mid Wales or gaze out over the changing colours of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on a walk through Coed Llangwyfan woodland in north Wales.

Waterfalls are even more dramatic after wet autumn weather and so it’s a great time of year to visit one.  Choose from the walk to the top of Water Break-its-Neck in Radnor Forest which has been popular since Victorian times or visit four waterfalls on one trail in the area known as Waterfall Country in South Wales.

If you fancy spotting some spectacular members of the fungi kingdom, head for Minwear Forest in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park or the National Nature Reserve at Morfa Dyffryn where the dunes are famous for their colonies of autumn dune fungi.

Plan your trip

You can download any of these routes free of charge onto your Apple or Android device from Viewranger. Viewranger offers downloadable route information with the distance, how difficult the route is, ease of access and what can be seen along the way. (We recommend that you download routes and maps before leaving home so that you can use them without the need for a mobile signal).

The PlacesToGo app shows you where you can go and what you can do in Wales’s public forests and National Nature Reserves. The PlaceTales app includes audio trails and folk tales to bring these places to life. Find out how to download the free apps Places to go and Place Tales apps before you set off on your trip.

Traveline Cymru is a one-stop-shop for information about travel by bus, coach and train in Wales. Find all the information you need about public transport in one place on the Traveline Cymru website.

Enjoy your visit

The Countryside Code helps you respect, protect and enjoy the countryside, enabling you to get the most out of your visit.

It provides you with helpful advice about:

  • Preparing for your trip
  • Keeping yourself and others safe
  • Ensuring the countryside remains a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy

Pick your route

Route 1: Cors Caron Walk, Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Mid Wales

Cors Caron National Nature ReserveVenture out on the boardwalk at Cors Caron National Nature Reserve to admire an array of brown, gold and maroon colours within a stunning landscape. This vast area of wetland is a dramatic sight at any time of year but its colours really come into their own in the autumn. The rusty colours of the raised bog, reedbed and grassland provide a contrast to the green of the surrounding hills and, in early autumn, the common heather is still in flower. It is a fantastic place for wildlife, too, and on warmer days you may see dragonflies and damselflies darting over the water or even a lizard or an adder basking on the boardwalk in the last of the year’s sunshine.

  • Length: 1½ miles (2.6 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The accessible boardwalk is a circular route over the south-east bog. It passes by a large hide where you can enjoy peaceful views of the landscape and wildlife. There are benches and passing places along the way
  • Start and finish: Cors Caron National Nature Reserve car park, near Tregaron

Find out more

Route 2: Forest Garden Discovery Trail, Coed y Brenin Forest Park, North West Wales

Forest GardenWhere better to take the family to see the rich reds and glorious copper hues of autumn than on a Forest Garden Discovery Trail? A whole host of trees from around the world line the path through this pretty woodland. They change colour at different times during the autumn and so you should have a colourful welcome whenever you visit. Many of the trees have name tags and there are posts along the way with pull-out signs with fascinating facts. Spotting the labels and reading the tree facts can be a great game for younger walkers and you can continue the woodland fun at home by collecting fallen leaves to use in art work. 

  • Length: ¾ mile (1.2 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The forest garden is criss-crossed with a series of formal and informal tracks, some steep and uneven, but there are no steps or stiles
  • Start and finish: Pandy car park, Coed y Brenin Forest Park, near Dolgellau

Find out more

Route 3: Ridgetop Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Mid Wales

Bwlch Nant yr ArianYou’ll be rewarded for the steep climbs on the Ridgetop Trail with magnificent views full of autumn colours. The path passes through different landscapes ranging from the heather clad ridge of the open hillside to woodlands tinged with golden trees and brown vegetation. Along the way there’s a stone viewpoint from which you can enjoy panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. Autumn is a great time of the year to watch the red kites arrive at the lake for feeding time every afternoon. Their numbers tend to increase slightly as the weather gets colder and their natural food becomes a little scarcer. If it’s wet, the café in the Visitor Centre is a sheltered spot to watch this spectacular sight and enjoy tea and homemade cakes.

  • Length: 3 miles (5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The Ridgetop Trail is waymarked from the Visitor Centre car park and follows well-defined paths. There are some long and steep climbs and descents. The surfaces are generally in good condition but may be rough and wet in places and parts of the trails are very
    exposed
  • Start and finish: Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth

Find out more

Route 4: Coed Llangwyfan Circular Trail, Coed Llangwyfan, North East Wales

Coed LlangwyfanSet off on an autumn walk through a peaceful woodland with views over the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The waymarked trail climbs steadily and you are rewarded for your effort with fantastic views across the browns and golds of the hills and trees. The circular route returns past a range of different trees from mature Corsican pine to rowan laden with orange and red berries. Several other walks start from the car park and Offa's Dyke long distance path goes through the top of Coed Llangwyfan.

  • Length: 2 miles (3 kilometres)
  • Terrain: This is a moderate route with a gradual descent
  • Start and finish: Coed Llangwyfan car park, near Denbigh

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Route 5: Dune Walk, Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve, North West Wales

Dune fungusIf you head for the beach to enjoy the last warm days of the year, make sure you explore the fascinating dunes that lead to the sea. This dune system is constantly moving and being re-shaped by the wind and is home to specialised plants and animals that depend on this unique habitat for their survival. During the autumn, look out for displays of late flowering plants and the colonies of dune fungi for which Morfa Dyffryn is famous. The walk cuts through the dunes and onto the beach where there are spectacular views of the sea and the Llŷn Peninsula. You then walk along the beach and return to the car park via a boardwalk where there is a viewpoint with picnic bench overlooking the bay.

  • Length: 1⅓ miles (2.1 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The route is level and there is a stretch along the beach which is made up of stones and sand. The end of the route is along boardwalk. Please note that flooding may affect parts of the path after severe wet weather
  • Start and finish: Benar Beach car park, near Barmouth

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Route 6: Water Break-its-neck Trail, Radnor Forest, Mid Wales

Water break its neck waterfallWaterfalls are even more dramatic after wet autumn weather so it’s a great time of year to visit one that’s been famous since Victorian times. The vividly-named Water Break-its-neck waterfall is situated in the part of Radnor Forest known as Warren Wood. This area was moorland full of vast rabbit warrens before the Victorian estate owners planted fashionable picturesque woodland for the benefit of tourists visiting the waterfall. The river tumbles down a gorge into the spectacular waterfall and the micro-climate is home to ferns, mosses and lichens. This circular walk leads you through the woodland and above Water-break-its-neck and you should hear the thundering of the falls as you get closer to them.

  • Length:  ¾ mile (1 kilometre)
  • Terrain: This is a circular route through the woodland to the top of the waterfall.  There is also a shorter, mainly level walk from the car park that goes straight to the foot of the waterfall and then returns along the same path
  • Start and finish: Warren Wood car park, near Llandrindod Wells

Find out more

Route 7: Pont Annell Walk, Caio Forest, South West Wales

Autumn treesFollow in the footsteps of a historic Welsh prince on a walk in a woodland with royal connections. Caio Forest is a conifer woodland named after the village which was the birthplace of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last prince of an independent Wales. In the autumn, the needles on the deciduous larch trees turn gold and contrast with the lofty evergreen Douglas Fir and Norway Spruce trees. The path goes through the forest and crosses a bridge over the stream where there is a picnic table in the clearing. After your walk, seek out the spectacular stainless steel statue of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in the grounds of the castle ruins in Llandovery.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometres)
  • Terrain:  This waymarked walk is a relatively easy stroll through the forest which is suitable for families
  • Start and finish: Caio Forest car park, near Llandovery

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Route 8: Minwear Walk, Minwear Forest, South West Wales

Beech leavesMinwear Forest is the place to go this autumn if you fancy spotting some spectacular members of the fungi kingdom. This is the best time of year to hunt for strange-shaped fungi which, along with the colours of the burnished leaves on the trees, make a fantastic feast for the eyes. The forest is situated in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park near the head of the tidal section of the Eastern Cleddau River.  The combination of sea water and fresh water provides a varied habitat for wildlife - look out for waterside birds like herons and kingfishers from the picnic area and viewpoint over the estuary.

  • Length: 1½ miles (2.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: This waymarked walk is suitable for families
  • Start and finish: Minwear Forest car park, near Haverfordwest

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Route 9: Cwm Cadian Trail, Tan y Coed, Mid Wales

Cwm Cadian TrailGet set to enjoy spectacular seasonal colours on this short walk through tall beech trees in a peaceful woodland. Beech trees put on a long display during autumn as their leaves gradually turn from pale yellow through to deep orange. The dead leaves often remain on the trees well into winter but, when they do fall, they carpet the woodland floor with a deep, crackly carpet which is great fun to walk through. The path goes alongside the River Cadian which is the perfect place to spot the aptly named dippers that bob up and down searching for food in the rushing water. At the car park, pick up a leaflet for the Animal Puzzle Trail (which follows the same route as the Cwm Cadian Trail) and challenge the kids to spot the animals along the way. Bring a packed lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables on the grassy slopes around the car park.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The trail follows forest roads and narrow rough paths with some rocks, roots and mud and there are some climbs and descents along the way. It is not suitable for pushchairs
  • Start and finish: Tan y Coed car park, near Machynlleth

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Route 10: Elidir Trail, Pont Melin-fach, South East Wales

Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf waterfallKeep your eyes peeled for the entrance to a fairy kingdom which is reputed to be somewhere along the Elidir Trail. This area is known as Waterfall Country as there are more spectacular waterfalls here than in any other part of Wales. You’ll go past four of them on this trail as it heads downstream to Pontneddfechan. Two of them - Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf (the Lower and Upper Gushing Falls) - really live up to their name after heavy rain. In autumn, the burnished copper and gold colours of the woodland and the bright red berries of rowan trees frame the waterfalls and create enchanting vistas. Over 600 different plants have been found in Waterfall Country and so, even if you don’t spot a fairy, you will see plenty of mosses, ferns and lichens along the way.

  • Length: 2.5 miles (4.1 kilometres) one way
  • Terrain: The ground is uneven in many places and it is slippery after rainfall. There are some steep climbs and ascents and the path from Pont Melin-fach to Sgwd Gwladys is steep and uneven. As this is a linear route you will need to retrace your steps when you reach Pontneddfechan to return to the Pont Melin-fach car park
  • Start and finish: Pont Melin-fach car park, near Ystradfellte

Find out more

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