As the days grow shorter and temperature edges towards the chillier end of the spectrum, the criteria for those looking for a decent walk in the countryside changes. Gone are the long, idyllic summer evenings where you can head out for a decent stroll after work; what’s needed at this time of year are routes that a crisp and concise. Just like an autumnal day itself, then. The most obvious thing to include in a countryside walk is a visit to deciduous woodland, where the spectacular show of colour is proudly put on by the nation’s leaves and changes on a daily basis.
Autumn is a special time, reminding me of family walks in fabulous places when the kids were younger. Autumn is the time we’d head into one of our favourite woods and watch for a little mouse that would appear from a nearby wall to get the food people left. Autumn means the candy luscious treats of Halloween, and the smokey traditions of Bonfire Night. Autumn is a time I pay an annual visit to Silverdale, near Morecambe, to catch falling leaves in the hours before Lancaster’s fireworks display.
But Autumn also brings mental health challenges from those who suffer from SAD, myself among them. It can be a massively disorientating and threatening time of year as darkness encroaches on the end of the working day and practically all free time during the week is under the cover of darkness. It’s crucially important to keep active during these weeks; exercise is well known for reducing levels of anxiety and depression, while getting out into beautiful scenery can boost levels of enjoyment.
The Autumn section of Year Round Walks in the Peak District keeps all this mind. I’ve tried to produce five walks for the season that you can complete in the shorter hours and be given some seasonal vigour by the charming, golden tree canopy. One of my favourites hits the lovely village of Bradfield. It’s such a lovely, quiet and quaint place that I really like to visit. Over the last few months I’ve been popping to Bradfield around once a week. It’s a great place to get inspiration. If you see me there, you can inspire me by buying me a coffee!