The air is crisp and the colours are sharp making this season the perfect time of year to enjoy spectacular views and stunning scenery.

Enhanced by a riot of colours as woodlands display themselves in their all their red and golden finery, it’s enough to clear away the coronavirus blues.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has chosen some of its favourite autumn walks.

Social distancing guidelines are in place and while sites remain open, people are urged not to travel from outside their area of residence to visit them if they are on local lockdown.

Mary Galliers, NRW’s recreation marketing and tourism officer, said: “Our sites offer every kind of spectacular display that this time of the year has to offer; the golds, reds and browns of the leaves still on the trees and the crackle underfoot of those that have already fallen.

“Then there’s the purples and reds of moss on the bogs and moorlands and the rusts and yellows of grasslands, not to mention the unusual fungi and late flowering plants in sand dunes and around waterfalls.

“Autumn is a great time for visiting sites that have been busier during the summer months – so you can enjoy the once crowded beaches and popular woodland walks in relative peace and quiet.

“But an autumn walk isn’t just for enjoyment – people who are active and enjoy the outdoors are more likely to have longer, healthier and happier lives.”

1. Coed Llangwyfan trail, Coed Llangwyfan, Denbighshire


Peaceful woodland with fantastic views over the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The waymarked trail returns past a range of trees from mature Corsican pine to rowan laden with orange berries.

Several other walks start from the same point and the Offa’s Dyke long distance path goes through the top of Coed Llangwyfan.

Walk: 2 mile (3km) circular walk with some climbing and a gradual descent.

Start and finish: Coed Llangwyfan car park, near Denbigh (OS grid ref: SJ 138 667).

map: The route through Coed Llangwyfan

© Natural Resources Wales
The route through Coed Llangwyfan

How to get here: Coed Llangwyfan is four miles east of Denbigh. From the roundabout on the A525 south of Denbigh, follow the minor road signposted to Llandyrnog.

Go straight on at the next roundabout across the B5429. Turn left at the next junction and follow this road to the top of the hill. Coed Llangwyfan car park is on the left.

Parking: Free of charge.

2. Cwm Cadian and the Animal Puzzle trails, Tan y Coed, Machynlleth

a man walking down a dirt path: Tan y Coed's Animal Puzzle trail follows the route of the Cwm Cadian path

© John McFarlane
Tan y Coed’s Animal Puzzle trail follows the route of the Cwm Cadian path


Spectacular seasonal colours are provided by the site’s tall beech trees, which carpet the woodland floor with a thick layer of leaves.

The path follows the River Cadian, populated by dippers that bob up and down in the rushing water.

The Animal Puzzle Trail follows the same route as the Cwm Cadian Trail. For the former, pick up a leaflet at the car park to challenge the kids along the way.

Walk: 1 mile (1.6km) circular trail that follows forest roads and narrow rough paths, so is not suitable for pushchairs

Start and finish: Tan y Coed car park, near Machynlleth (OS grid ref: SH 755 054).

map: The Cwm Cadian and Animal Puzzle trails in Tan y Coed

© Natural Resources Wales
The Cwm Cadian and Animal Puzzle trails in Tan y Coed

How to get here: The Tan y Coed car park is sign-posted off the A487 between Dolgellau and Machynlleth, south of Corris and north of Pantperthog.

Parking: Free of charge.

3. Cors Caron Walk, Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Tregaron


Venture out on the boardwalks of this vast area of wetland where the colours really come into their own in the autumn.

It is a fantastic place for wildlife, too: 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.

Walk: 1.5 mile (2.6km) circular route over the boardwalks of the south-east bog, passing a large hide along the way.

Start and finish: Cors Caron NNR car park, near Tregaron, Ceredigion (OS grid ref: SN 692 625).

map: The boardwalk trail at Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Tregaron, Ceredigion

© Natural Resources Wales
The boardwalk trail at Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Tregaron, Ceredigion

How to get here: The reserve is about two miles north of Tregaron on the B4343.

There is also some parking in a lay-by off the B4343 north of Maesllyn Farm, and at Ystrad Meurig Station Yard, off the B4340.

Parking: Free of charge.

4. Forest Garden Discovery Trail, Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Dolgellau

a tree in a forest: Coed y Brenin's Forest Garden is home to a wide variety of trees

© John McFarlane
Coed y Brenin’s Forest Garden is home to a wide variety of trees


Trees from around the world line the path through this woodland, each changing colour as autumn deepens.

Many of them have name tags, accompanied by pull-out signs with fascinating facts.

Walk: 0.75-mile (1.2km) circular trial. The forest garden is criss-crossed with a series of formal and informal tracks.

Start and finish: Pandy car park, Coed y Brenin Forest Park, near Dolgellau (OS grid ref: SH 744 225).

map: The Forest Garden Discovery Trail at Coed y Brenin Forest Park

© Natural Resources Wales
The Forest Garden Discovery Trail at Coed y Brenin Forest Park

How to get here: You can park at either the Pandy car park or the nearby Forest Garden car park. Both are off the A470, near the village of Ganllwyd.

Parking: Free of charge.

5. Ridgetop Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Aberystwyth


Steep climbs give magnificent views full of autumn colours, from heather-clad hills to gold and orange woodlands.

Along the way a stone viewpoint offers panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains.

In autumn, as the weather cools, red kite numbers tend to increase slightly at the site as their natural food becomes scarcer – it’s a good time of the year to watch them arrive at the lake for feeding time every afternoon.

Walk: A 3 mile (5km) circular trail that’s waymarked from the Visitor Centre car park, with some steep climbs and descents.

Start and finish: Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth (OS grid ref: SN 717 813).

map: The Ridgetop Trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Aberystwyth

© Natural Resources Wales
The Ridgetop Trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Aberystwyth

How to get here: Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre is nine miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44.

Parking: £1.50 for up to two hours and £3 for over two hours.

6. Dune Walk, Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve, Barmouth


This dune system is constantly moving and being re-shaped by the wind.

It is also home to specialised plants and animals – in autumn, look out for 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.

Walk: A 1.3-mile (2.1km) circular trail that is mostly level, returning along a boardwalk.

Start and finish: Benar Beach car park, near Barmouth (OS grid ref: SH 572 224).

map: The Dune Walk at Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve

© Natural Resources Wales
The Dune Walk at Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve

How to get here: Morfa Dyffryn NNR is a mile west of the A496 between the villages of Llanaber and Dyffryn Ardudwy. Turn off the A496 at Dyffryn Ardudwy at the sign for the Dyffryn Seaside Estate. Follow this lane which leads to the Bennar Beach car park.

Parking: The car park is operated by Snowdonia National Park and there is a parking charge.

7. Break-Its-Neck Trail, Radnor Forest, Llandrindod Wells


Waterfalls are even more dramatic after wet weather, so autumn is a great time of year to visit.

Break-Its-Neck has been famous since Victorian times, when estate owners planted fashionable woodlands for the waterfall’s visitors.

Previously the area was moorland and contained vast rabbit warrens.

The river tumbles down a gorge which host ferns, mosses and lichens.

Walk: A 0.75-mile (1km) 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, Powys (OS grid ref: SO 187 598).

map: The trail to Break-Its-Neck waterfall in Radnor Forest

© Natural Resources Wales
The trail to Break-Its-Neck waterfall in Radnor Forest

How to get here: Warren Wood is 1 mile south west of New Radnor. Follow the A44 from New Radnor to Llandrindod Wells. About one mile after New Radnor, turn left at a brown tourist information sign. Go past the first small parking and picnic area and follow the forest road uphill to Warren Wood car park.

Parking: Free of charge.


Plan your trip

You can download any of these routes – and more besides – free of charge onto your Apple or Android device from Viewranger. Visit the Natural Resources Wales website for details.

Two free mobile apps may also be useful.

The PlacesToGo app shows you where to go and what to find in Wales’s public forests and National Nature Reserves.

The PlaceTales app includes audio trails and folk tales to bring these places to life.

For information on how to plan a safe trip amid the pandemic, click here.

Gallery: The most striking autumn landscapes around the world (Espresso)