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Walks are made all the better with a midway break at a cosy country pub, especially in the autumn months. We’ve gathered some of our favourite hikes in the UK for experiencing autumn colour, from rusty-hued riverside rambles to brilliant beech woods, each starting, ending or pausing midway at a traditional country inn.
Enjoy the seasonal colours during your walk, followed by a hearty pub meal or local ale with our guide to the best autumnal pub walks in the UK.
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Rydal and Grasmere, Cumbria
On this six-mile walk in Wordsworth country, the Lake District’s autumn hues rival those of New England. The route starts and finishes at Rydal, home to the Badge Bar – the perfect conclusion to a day on the trail.
Padley Gorge, Derbyshire
Enjoy an absorbing woodland amble en route to a striking post-industrial landscape veiled by Peak District trees. Extend the route with a three-mile diversion to Grindleford for a midway pint the at the cosy Sir William inn.
Llanbedr Woods, Gwynedd
Now a Conservation Area, the oak woods hugging the hillsides above Afon Artro form a fine example of temperate forest that once covered most of Wales. Pass through this ancient woodland teeming with wildlife in north-west Wales with this 6.5-miles walk, especially glorious in late summer and autumn when the woods are filled with colour and foraging creatures. For a well-deserved drink, head to The Victoria Inn in Llanbedr.
Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire
Take a walk through the historic Burnham Beeches National Nature Reserve – one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Britain. The forest is best explored in the autumn months with a midway lunch stop at a traditional country pub – pick from the Blackwood Arms or the The Jolly Woodman.
Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Find magical sculptures among the trees on this eight-walk through hilly Lake District forest. The Eagles Head offers hungry walkers a chance to refuel before continuing not he trail.
Church Stretton, Shropshire
History surrounds you in this ancient pocket of Shropshire, inhabited since Saxon times. Walk its age-old tracks, root around in its cavernous antiques market and end the day at a tradition country pub – why not try the Kings Arms or the Bucks Head.
Highmeadow Woods, Gloucestershire
Thread through the Forest of Dean’s autumnal trees, stopping off half way at the White Horse Inn, before winding back on a woodland path.
Peel Crags and Sycamore Gap, Northumberland
Embrace a romantic Roman hike along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park before returning to the Twice Brewed Inn for a hearty pub feast.
Monsal Dale, Derbyshire
Ramble the high tracks and waterside paths of Monsal Dale in the Peak District National Park. The walk starts and finishes on the edge of Little Longstone where autumn walkers can refuel with drinks and food at one of two delightful pubs – the Monsal Head Hotel or the Packhorse Inn.
Birks of Aberfeldy, Perthshire
When Robert Burns came to visit Aberfeldy in 1787, he was so impressed by the spectacular waterfalls and birch woods outside that he wrote a poem celebrating the area’s natural beauty. Today, a 4½ mile circular path allows you to follow in his footsteps and be equally inspired by this amazing place – experience this jaw-dropping gorge path, ending the walk at either The Fountain or the Black Watch.
Delamere Forest, Cheshire
Graded forest roads offer easy ways to explore the beautiful the mixed woodlands of Delamere Forest. Here and there your paths cross primeval meres – atmospheric relics of the Ice Age. Experience striking autumn contrasts on this gentle walk in Cheshire’s ancient green heart, stopping of for a half-way pint at The Carriers Inn.
Forge Valley Woods, North Yorkshire
This beautiful nature reserve on the banks of the River Derwent in the North York Moors National Park was once home to iron smelting. Today it’s a peaceful spot, so go quietly and you may see an otter or kingfisher on your way to East Ayton, where there are two country pubs – the Denison Arms and Ye Olde Forge Valley Inn.
The venerable Wasdale Head Inn, hidden within the valleys and mountains of the Lake District, has housed some of Britain’s best novelists and poets – find out what inspired these great writers with a five-mile walk.
Norham Castle, Northumberland
Visit Norham Castle on the banks of the River Tweed and enjoy a historic woodland and riverside stroll through the village and surrounding countryside. Finish at Norham itself, an attractive and peaceful village, with the Mason Arms a perfect spot for a post-walk meal or refreshment.
The great thing about this pub walk is that you don’t need a map. Simply step out of the Bridge Inn pub door, cross the river on the old stone bridge and join the towpath. The canal stretches east to west and offers miles and miles of trail. Autumn is a great season to visit, as the trees’ rusty leaves cast rippled reflections on the surface of the canal.