From orange-dusted hills to shedding golden trees, blue evening skies to the streak of a red squirrel, the autumn landscape provides a palette of dazzling colours, all of which, new research suggests, helps banish the winter blues and welcome in a happier, healthier you.
To celebrate the Great British Walk, which takes place at National Trust properties country-wide from 8 September to 24 October, National Trust rangers have come up with their favourite rainbow-coloured walks you can enjoy across the UK this September and October.
Red: Brownsea Island, Dorset
Located in Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island is home to around 200 red squirrels and autumn is definitely the best time of year to see them.
Red makes its mark further along the island with the ornamental scarlet oaks from North America. The island is also home to red admiral and peacock butterflies, migrant redstarts and the common red darter dragonfly. You might also catch the emergence of the fly agaric fungi, which is red with white spots. Discover the walk here.
Orange: Nant Gwynant autumn walk
Nant Gwynant is one of the most dramatic and beautiful valleys in Wales, filled with ancient oak and ash which turn a vibrant and astonishing orange in the autumn. The orange makes a striking contrast with the green of the grass, transforming Nant Gywnant a must-see autumn haunt. To add to the explosion of orange, the sunsets also arrive a little earlier bathing the area in a glorious glow just as the early evening creeps in. Discover the walk here.
Yellow: Speke Hall, Liverpool
The Tudor house and estate of Speke Hall appears to glow yellow during the autumn months as the Hall's ancient woodland of beech and oak are decorated yellow. Grasses turn a yellow-brown too as they dry up for the autumn and even the skies get a dusky yellow hue.
Rosehips turn from yellow to red, plums green to yellow to black and crab apples rush to a yellow colour, all of which piques the interest of surrounding wildlife, ushering in a carnival of song thrushes, mistle thrushes and blackbirds. Discover the walk here.
Green: Cragside, Northumberland
During the autumn months, the seven million coniferous trees across Cragside keep the estate a fresh green while autumn changes the landscape around it. The Pinetum, which was established by Lord and Lady Armstrong as a showcase for their wealth, is a real horticultural jewel to look out for. Discover the walk here.
Blue: Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire Hills
The blue of the Shropshire Hills was reflected in A E Houseman’s poem, A Shropshire Lad, in which he talks of the 'Blue Remembered Hills'. As you walk through Carding Mill Valley, it is these blue-tinged hills that visitors see standing in the distance. The water in the stream and the waterfall also appears to shine brighter and the heather takes on a blue tinge. Discover the walk here.
Russet: Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
Wicken Fen is one of Europe's most important wetlands, supporting lots of fascinating wildlife. The raised boardwalk and lush grass droves allow easy access to a lost landscape where visitors can enjoy the vibrant russet tones of the sedge in the autumn months. Go when the sun is going to bed for a particularly awe-inspiring experience. Discover the walk here.
Purple: Divis Mountain, County Antrim
The colour purple dominates the mountain of Divis which is set in the heart of the Belfast Hills and is home to a host of wildlife. In particular, the purple-coloured, wonderfully named Devil's-bit scabious, a curious purple plant with antlers, carpets much of the landscape through September until October and is the food source for the marsh fritillary butterfly, only found on three sites on Divis. Discover the walk here.
Gold: Petworth House, West Sussex
Petworth House is set in a beautiful deer park landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and was the inspiration for one of the great landscape painters, J.M.W. Turner. In autumn, the woodlands and grasslands transform slowly from green to gold and the magnificent oaks, limes, beeches and chestnuts create canopies of buttery-gold foliage. In the evening light, the setting sun bathes the mansion in a warm yellow glow, whilst its windows shine gold and red. Discover the walk here.
There are more days out ideas in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.