Just go discover!
Check out the top ten things to do in our woodlands...
Discover the best places to see seasonal colours
We’ve chosen ten walking routes to help you discover the great outdoors this autumn in our woodlands and National Nature Reserves.
Enjoy views full of autumn hues and dramatic waterfalls on our waymarked walking trails across Wales.
Head for a woodland if you fancy spotting some spectacular members of the fungi kingdom.
Venture out on a boardwalk over a raised bog to admire an array of brown, gold and maroon colours.
Wander through a forest garden where the leaves turn at different times during the autumn.
To help you pick a route near you, we’ve listed walks in north Wales first, then mid Wales and then south Wales.
Leave the bustle of Betws-y-coed to discover a tranquil and scenic lake surrounded by trees rich with autumn colours. Follow the path around the lake as it cuts in and out from the water’s edge and goes past a monument with a bench from which you can enjoy the view. The trail rejoins the main path and you re-trace your steps back to Betws-y-coed.
Where better to take the family to see the rich reds and glorious copper hues of autumn than on a discovery trail through a forest garden? 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.
Get 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 cover 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.
Set off from the old masonry arch which once marked the entrance to the nearby Hafod Estate. After a short but steep climb through colourful heather and bilberry, you’ll reach the viewpoint with bench and panoramic views over the surrounding hills as far as Snowdonia National Park. The trail returns to the car park through huge beech trees, planted on the estate over 200 years ago. Enjoy the vibrant auburn shades displayed by these majestic trees from the wooden bench in the glade.
Venture 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.
The spectacular scenery full of autumn colours makes the steep climb on the Ridgeway Trail well worth the effort. The trail passes through different landscapes ranging from the rugged ridgeway on the open hillside to the forest, with its rich colours overhead and at the side of the path. Along the way there is a stone viewpoint where you can enjoy stunning views over Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. The autumn is a great time to watch the red kites arrive at the lake to be fed every afternoon. Their numbers tend to increase slightly as the weather cools and their natural food sources declines. If it’s wet, the visitor centre café is a sheltered place to watch this wonderful scene, and to enjoy tea and homemade cakes.
Waterfalls 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.
Follow 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.
Minwear 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.
The Wye Valley is known as the birthplace of British tourism and it has been attracting visitors since the 18th century. Autumn is a great time to visit the woodlands here which are amongst the most beautiful in Britain. The mixture of trees from stately oak and beech trees to ash, cherry and small-leaved lime display a rich palette of autumn colours. Enjoy views over the dramatic Wye gorge and river through the colourful trees from the three historic viewpoints on this trail.
Go to the Traveline Cymru website for information about travel by bus, coach and train in Wales.
See the Countryside Code for advice about preparing for your trip, keeping yourself and others safe and how you can help ensure that the countryside remains a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy.
Looking for somewhere else to visit? Go to our Places to Visit section.
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