Where to discover spectacular autumn scenes in British woodlands

Rural, Seasonal, Nature

Posted by Kate A on 24th September 2021

Overton, Hampshire

Image credit: Michaela Fuller

Wrapping up warm and crunching along leafy pathways, smelling ripening fruits, and watching as the sunlight bursts through a blaze of golden foliage; autumn is one of our favourite times of year for a forest holiday in the UK.

As fabulous displays of fungi emerge from mossy floors and conkers fall from the trees, it’s also a great season to capture with a photograph. So, we’ve chosen some of the most inspirational images sent to us by our followers via our Autumn Holiday Watch campaign in partnership with the RSPB.

Pull on your wellies and discover some of the most spectacular autumn scenes in British woodlands.

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Longleat Forest

Image credit: Nick Feierabend

Longleat Forest, Wiltshire

This enchanting broadleaved woodland has provided an earthy backdrop for the turning leaves captured in Nick’s atmospheric autumnal image.

Nestled within the Cranbourne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Wiltshire, Longleat Forest is a flourishing space, rich in wildlife, lichens and ground flora that beam in the soft, amber light.

Not only beautiful in autumn, this woodland is also a great place to explore during the summer. Why not discover some more of our favourite summer woodland walks in our guide?

Longleat cottages

Forest of Dean

Left image credit: Caroline Prosser. Right image credit: Giuliana Britti

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

One of the last remaining ancient woodlands in England, the Forest of Dean boasts an overwhelmingly diverse species list of trees. Kick your way through the fallen leaves, admiring the emerald greens of soaring pines and conifers mingling with the russet tones of mighty oaks.

To celebrate this annual symphony of colour, there is a 50-mile Leaf Peeping Driving Trail which explores some of the most breathtaking parts of the forest as it shows off its seasonal finery.

The term ‘Leaf Peeping’ stems from North America, where people often travel to view and photograph the changing season, as the foliage transforms from summer greens to the gleaming ochre shades of autumn.

Symonds Yat

Image credit: Tara Darlington

If you’ve been seduced by the Forest of Dean and long for another boost of colour, then make your way to Symonds Yat where you’ll be rewarded by a vibrant forest panorama, as encapsulated here by Tara.

This dramatic outcrop sits 500 metres above the winding River Wye and is the perfect vantage point to bask in the glow of the warm hues emanating from the wooded hills below.

Forest of Dean cottages

Sherwood Forest

Image credit: Sophie Lily

Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

You may not catch Robin Hood out with his band of merry men, but there are plenty of other delights for you and your family to enjoy during a ramble through Sherwood Forest in autumn. Shiny acorns, bunches of berries and mossy logs adorn the forest floor, and gnarled and hollowed-out oak trees twist and turn towards the sky.

Follow the Greenwood Trail which is specially designed to celebrate seasonal change or dive into adventure on the Wildwood Trail.

Did you know? Acorns are an iconic part of our history and folklore; carrying one was said to bring you good luck, and it’s rumoured that their caps are donned as hats by woodland fairies.

Nottinghamshire cottages

Hackfall Woods

Image credit: Kez Adams

Hackfall Woods, North Yorkshire

Stretching for nearly 120 acres in the Nidderdale AONB, Hackfall Woods is an ancient semi-natural woodland garden created by William Aislabie in the 17th century (the man behind the iconic Studley Royal Water Garden at Fountains Abbey). In a steep, rocky gorge of the River Ure, walking trails weave through the woodland revealing follies, grottos, fountains and waterfalls, as well as resplendent trees heavy with plump fruits and nuts.

And as we welcome the sight of juicy berries in nature’s autumnal larder, there’s also the chance to spot some of the birds and wildlife that make this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) home, such as the lovely little owl captured above by Kez.

North Yorkshire cottages

Invermoriston Woods

Image credit: Rhona Beecham

Invermoriston, Scotland

During a relaxing break in one of our cosy Highland cottages, Rhona captured this picture-postcard image of the woodlands surrounding the scenic village of Invermoriston. A series of well-trodden routes meander through the mature Scots pines, crowned with a crimson haze during autumn.

Follow the path of the River Moriston as its tumbles its way through the woodland to Loch Ness and admire the dazzling cascades of Invermoriston Falls.

Highland cottages

The New Forest

Image credit: Brenda Eileen Tyler

The New Forest, Hampshire

The vast woodlands of the New Forest National Park cover more than 50 square miles, and when autumn comes around, they put on a spectacular show. The burnished copper tones of the national park’s ancient timbered residents stand out beautifully against the purple sweeps of open heath and moorland.

And don’t forget to look down, or you might miss the fantastic world of fungi that lives on the forest floor – over 2,700 different species can be found here, like the great examples sent to us by Brenda above.

If you go down to the woods in autumn, you could be in for a ‘pig’ surprise… Another photogenic sight at this time of year is families of pigs snuffling around for acorns amongst the undergrowth. These pigs are taking part in the annual pannage, a unique New Forest tradition that goes back hundreds of years - acorns are not poisonous to pigs so they are released into the forest to eat them all up to prevent other animals, like New Forest ponies, from accidentally nibbling any.

New Forest cottages

Bacton Woods

Image credits: Charlene Green

Bacton Woods, Norfolk

These gorgeous images by Charlene show how autumn has painted Bacton Woods in Norfolk a natural firework display of colour. Crisp leaves and acorns crunch underfoot, and a fiery canopy hangs overhead.

A mosaic of seasonal colour is provided by over 30 species of trees, including Scots and Corsican pine, western hemlock, Douglas fir and larch.

Norfolk cottages

Shorne Woods Country Park

Image credit: Lyn Sullivan

Shorne Woods Country Park, Kent

The 292 acres of woodlands, wetlands and meadows of Shorne Woods Country Park is one of Kent’s most alluring areas come autumn. The dense forest turns a riot of rusty shades, spiders spin their delicate webs, and you can fill your pockets with conkers dropping from the horse chestnuts.

The incredible image above is of a sweet chestnut taken by Lyn during her walk here. Luckily, she managed to avoid being bopped on the head by any of its prickly falling neighbours!

Kent cottages

Richmond Park

Image credit: Kelly Cherry

Richmond Park, London

Dripping red, yellow, gold and orange, Richmond Park is a suburban wilderness packed to the brink with trees, ferns, shrubs and foliage. The largest of London’s Royal Parks, it’s also a National Nature Reserve and a great place to escape the city and observe some wildlife.

Get here early when morning mists give way to antlered stags among the woodland paths, as Kelly has captured above. There are around 630 freely roaming red and fallow deer in the park, and autumn is one of the best times to see them during their annual rut when the males battle for the attention of the females.

Cottages near London

Explore the UK this autumn

If these glorious golden scenes have inspired you to book a getaway to the great outdoors, be sure to browse our full collection of autumn breaks in the UK. Or, for a staycation with a difference, why not click the button below to explore our unique glamping holidays? These relaxing retreats are all set in prime locations to behold the true beauty of the British autumn.

Go glamping this autumn

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.