As the nights draw in and the temperature begins to drop it’s tempting to curl up indoors and start planning for next year’s summer adventure. But why wait? Autumn shouldn’t mean an end to outdoor fun. This is the season to see nature at its best and thanks to the recent warm weather the colours are more vibrant than ever, making this the perfect time to get outside. So here are our 5 top choices for mini adventures this Autumn, ranging from walk-in-the-park easy to something a little more challenging!
Although September to early October is the best time of year for blackberry picking and collecting other wild fruit, Britain’s hedgerows still have plenty to offer later on in the year. Mushrooms, hawthorns, chestnuts, rosehips and, if it’s still warm enough like now, crab apples can be found in the fields, along canal and river banks and in woodland areas – easy targets for anyone out on a Sunday walk. Gathering fruit and berries is a great way to get kids involved and interested in the outdoors while letting them test out their survival skills Ray Mears-style. Plus chestnuts make great festive snacks when roasted over an open fire and home-found mushrooms are perfect in any fry up. Or ditch the little ones and type ‘hedgerow vodka’ into Pinterest. You’re welcome. For this microadventure, simply pull on a warm pair of wellies, grab your parka and a carrier bag and you’re good to go. Just be sure when looking for fungi to go with someone who knows their Field Mushroom from their Death Cap!
What better way to experience autumn than with a day out hiking in the woods. Whether you choose to go adventuring in your own back garden or a little further afield, Britain’s woodlands and forests offer a fiery panorama of colour and as winter approaches you’ll have a greater chance of spotting the local wildlife too. Mating season means sighting of rutting fallow deer, little creatures will be out stocking up for Christmas and flocks of birds will be starting to migrate. My own choice of woodland destination this year is the Forest of Dean which has all the trails, caves, rivers and beautiful scenery you could want. Also for a glimpse of their newest residents – wild boars. For this day out we recommend waterproof boots with some decent grip and a warm pair of gloves. Please note pigs not guaranteed.
Climb a Mountain
A great outdoor adventure at any time of the year, autumn guarantees even better views that you can enjoy in peace now that the warm weather crowds have gone home. Not feeling up to tackling Ben Nevis? Simply climb the highest point in your area or the hill with the most scenic landscape. We’re currently coveting Snowdonia for its craggy peaks that offer views of the surrounding valleys and lakes. A cold autumn hike in the Welsh mountains followed by roast lamb by the pub fire? Yes please. Because days are much shorter at this time of year make sure you familiarise yourself with the trail first. Take a map and compass, a head torch is essential in case you’re out for longer than expected, and a pair of walking boots suitable for the terrain is a must.
Sleep under the Stars
Don’t let the colder weather put you off, camping in autumn can be a lot of fun – as long as you’re prepared! Waking up in the hills on an autumn morning offers spectacular views of sunrise lighting up colourful landscapes, and at a much more reasonable hour than in the summer (no 4AM alarms necessary) with no one but the local wildlife for company (because misty morning wakeups are not everyone’s cup of tea). Turn the adventure up a notch by sleeping al fresco with the aid of a bivi bag to really experience a night under the stars. And if it all gets a bit too chilly in the evening, what better excuse to try out the local pub. Depending on how much you feel the cold will affect what you need to take for this microadventure to feel comfortable. A 3 season sleeping bag, or a sleeping bag liner for your current bag, will offer extra warmth and an insulated sleeping mat will help reduce heat loss through the ground. Get cold feet? Think big socks.