Autumn walks in Yorkshire: The best places in the Yorkshire Dales to admire the changing colour of the leaves as we enter the autumn season including a James Herriot woodland walk in Swaledale and the Himalayan Garden in Ripon

As we approach the autumn season, we are reminded of the beautiful parks, gardens and woodland in the Yorkshire Dales that offer the best views of the changing landscape - we have picked out some of the best places to visit during this time of year.

With the leaves changing colour, birds migrating and a nip in the air, autumn is considered to be an underrated season for beautiful walks and weekend getaways.

Yorkshire Dales has plenty of picturesque lakes, waterfalls, parks and gardens filled with the ever changing trees that bloom in autumn, so it’s no wonder that locals and visitors alike travel here this time of year.

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From the stunning floral displays at Himalayan Gardens in Ripon to the popular James Herriot woodland walk in Swaledale, named after All Creatures Great and Small author Alf Wight, there is never a shortage of things to do in the Dales.

The Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)The Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)
The Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

Best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales in autumn

Hackfall Wood

This historic woodland has been restored and boasts original features such as grottos and glades, rustic temples and waterfalls, as well as an impressive number of woodland birds and grassland.

It is situated on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Freeholders Wood

This nature reserve is located in Aysgarth and consists of ancient semi-natural woodland; it has had tree cover since at least the year 1600.

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It is one of the best places to see hazel coppice woodland in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and you may see or hear the birdsong of the nuthatch, chaffinch, treecreeper, blackcap, chiffchaff, goldcrest, bullfinch, greenfinch, tits, song thrush, blackbird and warblers.

Skipton Castle Woods

Hidden behind a popular medieval castle, Skipton Castle Wood is a rare ancient woodland habitat nestled in the Dales.

Its history dates back a thousand years with stunning seasonal displays, amazing wildlife and positioned at the heart of Skipton.

The woodland is popular for families and nature lovers, particularly in autumn.

The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park

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The garden and park are set in the stunning countryside between Masham and Ripon and is home to more than 85 uniquely attractive contemporary sculptures.

This venue is inspired by the Himalayas and the park has more than 20,000 plants including one of the North’s largest collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias.

Parcevall Hall Gardens

The gardens are a plantsman’s garden in the heart of Wharfedale and are considered a hidden treasure comprising 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens.

The gardens were created by the late Sir William Milner from 1927 and visitors can explore woodland walks, formal, south facing terraces, a bedrock limestone rock garden and a stunning rose garden within the grounds.

Leyburn Shawl

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Leyburn’s popular walk is a seven-mile circular route, starting on Leyburn Shawl and weaving through fields, woods, over streams to Preston-under-Scar and Wensley.

With its beautiful views and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s an ideal location for autumn walks.

James Herriot Woodland Walk

The woodland walk is named after Alf Wight, author of All Creatures Great and Small, and better known as James Herriot.

It was planted in 2021-2022 with 1,875 trees to extend tree cover and create a natural wildlife area.

The woodland is situated between existing low-lying wood and the heather moor on the south-facing fellside of Swaledale above the village of Healaugh, in an area loved by the vet.

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