Autumn is a great time to explore the changing beauty of the countrysideFind great places to walk
Autumn is a great time to get away and enjoy a walk in the open air – this year more than ever, because of the truncated summer holiday period.
If you haven’t been able to take as many trips in your caravan or motorhome as you’d hoped during 2020, remember that there’s still plenty of time to fit more in, plus over 55 Club and Affiliated sites remain open all year.
And who doesn’t love an autumnal wander? With golden leaves providing a natural, comfortable carpet and the prospect of late-season good weather, a walk at this time of year is an enjoyable way to stay fit and healthy. Here are 10 great autumn walks near campsites that you might wish to consider…
Willingcott Caravan and Motorhome Club Site has an array of north Devon’s best beaches nearby, including two that are large enough for a long, worthwhile stretch of the legs. Woolacombe Beach is one of the loveliest expanses of sand in England’s south-west, while Saunton’s extends for three-and-a-half miles. Dogs are welcome on the latter all year round, aside from a small area next to the slipway, and owners are requested to keep them on a leash until they get past the crowds when the beach is busy.
The Visit Dartmoor website lists several circular walks, but ‘An Autumn Stomp’ is particularly fitting. It’s a non-taxing, five-mile stroll in beautiful Devon countryside that takes in a 16th-century leat (watercourse), a Victorian reservoir and the burial place of the three White Rajahs of Sarawak – members of the dynastic Brooke family who ruled an area of Borneo from 1841 to 1946. The trail starts and ends at the Royal Oak Inn in Meavy, approximately a 45-minute drive from Modbury Caravan and Motorhome Club Site.
Even during quieter months, parking in the picturesque Devon village of Stoke Gabriel can be at a premium… but the good news is that it’s walkable from Ramslade Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. Stay here and enjoy a leisurely stroll downhill towards the River Dart, where the popular The River Shack provides refreshments – it’s a lovely spot that is ideal for a sunny afternoon amble. Don’t miss the Church of St Mary and St Gabriel with its 13th-century tower and 1,200-1,400-year-old yew tree.
Llyn Llydaw, near the Dinas Emrys trail
Where to begin with Coed-Y-Llwyn? This beautiful Caravan and Motorhome Club Site sits within Snowdonia National Park, with some of the UK’s best walking country nearby. Children’s imaginations will be fired by the story behind the National Trust’s moderate, two-mile 'Legendary trail of Dinas Emrys' near Beddgelert, which involves the wizard Merlin and the origin of the iconic Welsh red dragon.
Dalby Forest in the North York Moors is a popular destination for members staying at Scarborough West Ayton Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. As well as designated running and cycling trails, there are 13 walking routes (including easy access) that enable you to explore the ‘rigg and dale’ landscape. If you can get the timing right so that you visit as the leaves change colour you’ll be in for a memorable treat.
Strathclyde Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
There may be parkland right on your doorstep at Strathclyde Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, but it’s also worth considering nearby Chatelherault Country Park on the outskirts of Hamilton for an autumn constitutional. With a former hunting lodge at its centre, the park has 500 acres of countryside and woodland to explore, and over 10 miles of routed pathways, while uplifting views extend to the Campsie Hills and Ben Lomond.
Merrose Farm Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
When you stay at Cornwall’s Merrose Farm Caravan and Motorhome Club Site the obvious choice for an invigorating stroll is along the South West Coast Path. Part of the long-distance route is within walking distance of your pitch, but perhaps consider a stretch that begins down the road, near St Just in Roseland; it offers superb views of the Carrick Roads as you travel south to picturesque St Mawes, and it’s easy to turn it into a circular walk – a quick Google search will reveal plenty of options.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: you’ll have to be up early at Dockray Meadow Caravan and Motorhome Club Site to find a parking space for the circular walk around Loweswater. However, the good news is it’s well worth the alarm call. You’ll be rewarded with a level walk in a tranquil and unspoilt corner of the Lake District, with views that take in the slopes of Fellbarrow and Mellbreak. Part of the route is suitable for wheelchair users.
St David’s Lleithyr Meadow Caravan and Motorhome Club Site is situated near Whitesands Bay – one of the loveliest beaches in Pembrokeshire. It’s perfect for a wander, but if you’re feeling energetic you could take on a stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path too. Head north from Whitesands and the path takes in St David’s Head before carrying on north-east to the Blue Lagoon, a former slate quarry now used for kayaking and other watersports. Travel in the opposite direction from Whitesands and you’ll be rewarded with lovely views of Ramsey Island before arriving at stunning Porthclais Harbour.
Sometimes all you need is a flat, straight path and some fresh air. Just down the road from Kent’s Daleacres Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, you’ll find such a stretch between the fortress of Dymchurch Redoubt and Martello Tower No 23 (both built during the Napoleonic War). The sea wall continues beyond Dymchurch, and those with time and energy to burn could even carry on to atmospheric Dungeness, where Prospect Cottage (the former home of filmmaker Derek Jarman) draws admiring visitors. (Be sure to check the train timetable for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch line beforehand for the return leg).