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With a chill in the air and the fiery colour of the changing leaves, the effects of autumn on the New Forest make it a place that you must visit, enjoy and relish. To help you do so, the forest’s National Park Authority has organised a number of inspirational walks this season.

The 2015 version of the New Forest Walking Festival is set to begin on 17 October and last until 1 November. For those enjoying an autumn cottage holiday at one of our properties in the New Forest, the Walking Festival is a great way to enjoy your stay with us.

With the help of several partner organisations, the festival includes some of the region’s best walking experiences. The walks are guided by knowledgeable leaders and are available to visitors of all ages. Many of the walks are accessible by public transport. To encourage their use, many of the walks are free or discounted if you arrive by bus, train, bike or on foot.

To make it easier to choose which walk to go on, the walks have been divided into the following categories: Wildlife Walks, History Hikes, Accessible Walks, Activity Walks, Family Adventures, Shorter Strolls, and Longer Walks.

Some of the highlights of the first day include the family adventure Wild Foods of the Forest, the wildlife walk Horseshoe Bottom Ramble, and Fritham Ramble, which will be led by regulars from the New Forest Ramblers Group.

On 19 October, there is a “What’s that Bird?” walk. On the route, visitors will have the opportunity to see the many varieties of birds in the New Forest. The walk will also include spectacular views of the coast a Keyhaven Marshes, the Isle of Wight in the distance, and Hurst Castle. Participants will also learn about coastal protection and how the landscape has changed since the days of salt production.

Later in the month, there is a Forest Bathing and Mindfulness Walk, and a Knightwood Oak Ramble. For a bit of village charm, there is a walk on 26 October focused on Cob Cottages and Village Greens. This guided walk will take you through some picturesque New Forest villages, following the Avon Valley Path. It will also pass through fields and woodlands. There’s also an Introduction to Nordic Walking and animal-assisted walks, such as alpaca and guided packhorse walks.

Some walks are already fully booked, so to avoid disappointment, book well in advance if you wish to attend certain walks. Head to the website for more details and to book.

Image Credit: Karen Roe (