1. Jesmond Dene
For as long as I can remember, my family and I have been visiting the beautiful Jesmond Dene, a haven of nature just minutes from Newcastle city centre. The monthly food market on Armstrong Bridge and the delights of Pets’ Corner are just two of the many appeals of Jesmond Dene. In Autumn when the leaves begin to die and fall from the trees, Jesmond Dene ironically comes to life. Sandstone cliffs clothed in ivy are surrounded by the most fabulous oak, ash, holly and hazel trees, as well as more exotic plants planted by Lord Armstrong in the Victorian era. The colours of Autumn suit no place better than Jesmond Dene, and whenever I think of walks in this place the first thing that springs to mind is dropping crisp brown, orange and red leaves off the bridge into the trickling stream below.
2. Cragside, Northumberland
The very same Lord Amstrong I mentioned above also had a residence at the remarkable Cragside, near Rothbury in Northumberland. Lord and Lady Armstrong created a Cragside that was both a marvel of science and of natural beauty. The house at Cragside is of great historical interest; it houses admirable art collections and tells the story of Armstrong’s mechanical pursuits. However, the gardens and woodlands of Cragside are truly something else. Lord and Lady Armstrong commissioned the planting of seven million trees on the estate, and along with rockeries, water features and a stunning array of colours, Cragside has become a wonder of the National Trust and a fantastic place to go for an Autumn walk. Take a look at my blog post, covering all aspects of the perfect day spent at Cragside.
3. Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle
One of my favourite places to walk my cockapoo, Lottie, is along the Northumberland coastline. The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is extremely pleasant and picturesque – lots of photo opportunities guaranteed! An English Heritage monument, Dunstanburgh Castle is an impressive ruinic site with breath-taking views of the coast and North Sea. I’d recommend parking up in Craster and walking along to the castle, exploring the many rock pools and discovering the diverse wildlife on the shores on the way. Craster is also home to one of my favourite pubs: The Jolly Fisherman. I can’t put into words how warming and satisfying a bowl of fresh Crab Soup and a pint of local ale is after a chilly, autumnal walk along the Northumberland coast.
4. Seaton Point, Boulmer
My family and I are very lucky to have friends who own a beach hut on the sand dunes at Seaton Point, a gorgeous Northumberland beach just outside of the old smuggling village of Boulmer. We have come to love this beach for dog walks because of it’s tranquillity – on an Autumn day it is quite likely that you could be the only people there! There is plenty of space for dogs and children to run around to their hearts’ content and at the far end of the beach, why not treat yourself to some coffee and cake in Alnmouth Golf Club at Foxton Hall? This walk is perfect for dog-walkers who are in search of some peace and quiet at the coast.
Website: Alnmouth Golf Cub
5. Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland
I have so many happy memories of time spent at Kielder with family and friends. From bike rides and camping, to crazy golf and ice cream at Leaplish, you are never stuck for something to do. Their website details all the fantastic things you can get up to, like salmon fishing and visiting Kielder Castle or Observatory! What I love the most about this Water and Forest Park though, is the way you can walk not very far at all but feel like you are in absolute wilderness. When I was younger, the thousands and thousands of lush green pine trees reminded me of the forests in the film ‘Twilight’ – there is something both eerie and beautiful about the Kielder woodlands surrounding the colossal, man-made reservoir. This is somewhere I will undoubtedly return to year in year out for walks in both the warmer weather and my favourite season of all: Autumn.