Autumn is a time of year when you can enjoy nature’s colour palette in its full glory across breath-taking Norfolk landscapes looked after by the National Trust.
With dozens of walking trails to choose from, whether you’re looking for a bracing coastal hike, a gentle woodland stroll, or a meandering wander alongside the waterways of the Norfolk Broads, there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and connect with nature.
To celebrate the season and inspire days out this autumn, the National Trust has pulled together a list of the best places for an autumnal stroll.
With an accessible multi-use trail through the parkland and a range of bikes available to hire to explore the wider estate, autumn is a great time to visit.
Blickling’s breathtaking Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows. The dazzling displays of autumn colour are abundant throughout the gardens and estate from the oak, beech, lime and sweet chestnut trees. Enjoy a walk alongside the lake to see their colour reflected in the calm waters, or head to the Great Wood in search of weird and wonderful fungi, taking in the impressive Mausoleum on your way. At the end of your adventures, head to the Stables Café for a belly-warming soup made with produce from the walled garden.
Wheelchairs, Mountain, Trike, Push, all terrain wheelchairs and mobility scooters available. See website for bike hire opening times. Dogs welcome in the parkland and Muddy Boots Café.
Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate
Discover diverse flora and fauna across the 520-acre estate and wander waymarked paths or pick from routes and trails of all sizes.
Surrounding the welcoming 17th-century Felbrigg Hall are 520 acres of woodland, rolling parkland, a lake and waymarked paths to explore. Eye-catching autumn foliage and fungi in Felbrigg’s Great Wood are possibly one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets. Take a stroll down the beech-lined Victory V avenues, where the towering branches create tunnels of colour over your head.
The estate’s diverse habitats have something to offer animal spotters at every time of day including owls, stoats, deer and hares. Wander buggy-friendly paths, challenge yourself with the 16mile Norfolk mountain walk or stretch your legs on the 2.6mile church and IceHouse circular route, with trail maps available to download.
Powered mobility vehicles and an all-terrain Tramper can be booked in advance for use on the wider estate. Dogs welcome across the estate, in the Squire’s Pantry and shop.
Pick up a trail map and explore the varied local landscape of broadland, low-lying grazing marshes and the beach at Horsey Gap and enjoy stunning views from the viewing platform at the top of Horsey Windpump.
Horsey Windpump is an ideal location from which to explore this beautiful corner of the Norfolk Broads on foot. Start your walk with a warming cuppa from the tearoom, pick up a local map from the Visitor Information hut, before heading out to explore the amazing wildlife of the area. There are three circular walks to choose from, ranging from 3 to 4.5 miles. Two of these routes take in the nearby beach, where you can expect to see large numbers of grey seals from the vantage point of the sand dunes. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a lead at this point of the walk.
Alternatively, you might want to follow the tranquil loop that takes in Horsey Village and the Horsey Estate. Enjoy the autumn light bouncing off Horsey Mere and take in sites of historical interest including Horsey Staithe Stores, Brograve Mill, and the Saxon All Saints church with its thatched roof and round tower. As you loop around Horsey village, keep an eye out for grazing deer. At the end of your walk, why not make your way up to the top of the Windpump for a birds-eye view of the autumn colours and the route you have just covered.
Discover over 200 acres of historic parkland, woodland, wildflower meadows and rare chalk river and spot the huge variety of different tree species in all their autumnal glory.
Oxburgh Estate is nestled on the edge of the Norfolk Brecks, where the land meets the wide-open Fenlands. As you wander beyond the garden, you’ll soon be out into the wider parkland and woods, where you can enjoy views towards the hall. There are so many wonderful areas to explore including the Oak Yard where mighty veteran trees stand tall including oak, lime and sweet chestnut and the River Gadder which is one of England’s rare chalk rivers with crystal-clear water running from underground chalk springs, making it an ideal habitat in which wildlife can thrive.
The Oxborough to Gooderstone Heritage Walk is a gentle, beautiful walk, which takes in some of Breckland’s protected farmland and heritage. Explore the pretty village of Oxborough, pass through Gooderstone with its Water Gardens and medieval church, and look out for the remains of Chalkrow Tower Mill.
Explore the landscape, woodland and coast with downloadable trails, witness the glory of autumn with specimen trees of dazzling colours and spot nationally rare fungi specimens.
Embrace the season as you immerse yourself in Sheringham Park. Wander freely or follow a trail celebrating Humphry Repton’s landscaped parkland, the views of the woodland and coast or an active 5km running route with maps available to download. Don’t forget to look up and discover the boughs of ancient and remarkable specimen trees, such as the golden larch and smooth Japanese maple. Climb the Gazebo tower and be rewarded with stunning views out to sea that take your breath away.
Closer to the ground, scattered through the leaf litter are weird and wonderful fungi growing in abundance – the unsung heroes of autumn. There are around 100 species of fungi to spot at Sheringham Park, including nationally rare lilac mushrooms and golden bootlegs. Veteran beech and oak trees will often react to drops in temperature to provide a golden display in the Wild Garden, often coinciding with the colourful show of fungi.
Powered mobility vehicles and an all-terrain Tramper are available on a first come first served basis. Dogs welcome in the woodland, parkland, clifftop areas and Courtyard Café.
Blakeney National Nature Reserve
Discover a huge array of wildlife amid the shingle beaches, sand dunes, and salt marshes. The north Norfolk coast sees an autumn transformation that is every bit as impressive as the changing colours of woodland and forests. This is the time of year when England’s largest grey seal colony begins to form on Blakeney Point, in readiness for seal pupping season. At the same time, the wide-open autumn skies along the coast are punctuated by the sight of flocks of migrating birds. The sense of change is palpable in the autumn air and this is a great time of year to put on your walking shoes, connect with nature, and explore all the coast has to offer.
On the Norfolk Coast Path, Morston Quay is an ideal base for discovering local walking routes. Leaflets with graded walks can be picked up from the National Trust’s Visitor Welcome building. From Morston Quay you can follow the coastal path or head inland for a circular walk, taking in the salt marshes and picturesque villages of Morston, Stiffkey and Cley. Refreshments are available at various stopping points along the way, including the takeaway café at Morston Quay.