Discover Wales by foot this autumn

Autumn has arrived in Wales. It’s time to venture into the crisp mornings and cool afternoons along wooded paths and winding riverbanks, admiring nature’s stunning display. 

No matter where you’re walking in Wales, you’ll discover the same beauty that inspired William Wordsworth to write in the Wye Valley more than two hundred years ago:

The sounding cataract haunted me like a passion: the tall rock, the mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, their colours and their forms, were then to me an appetite; a feeling and a love…

Gorgeous colours and picturesque scenery beckon wanderers, leading them into an escape from the everyday. With three National Parks and hundreds of quaint country villages, there are endless options for an autumn walk in Wales. Here are five to get you started.

The Wye Valley Walk, Chepstow

Wye Valley in autumn near Builth Wells, close to Wye Valley Walk

Builth Wells, Mid Wales close to the Wye Valley Walk
With Wordsworth’s poetry as your muse, a walk through the picturesque Wye Valley will rejuvenate your senses. The 136-mile Wye Valley Walk starts at Chepstow Castle and passes through meadows, woodland, orchards, hills, mountains and moorland before it ends at Hafren Forest near Llanidloes in Mid Wales.

If you’re adventurous, you can complete the walk in 12 days, staying on campsites or in guesthouses as you go along the route. An interactive map of the walk with accommodations and services is available at wyevalleywalk.org

For shorter excursions, linear and loop walks offer less challenging terrain without losing the magical views. The Chepstow Riverside Walk can be done in half an hour and is suitable for all abilities.

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Canal boats at Llanfoist Wharf, Brecon Canal

Llanfoist Wharf, Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal towpath enchants autumn walkers: still canal waters reflect jewelled leaves of red and gold; bright painted boats pass aqueducts and bridges; the wild and rural Brecon Beacons cast a storybook glow upon the towpath walk.

This 35-mile canal towpath begins in Brecon and traverses the Usk Valley through villages, under bridges and across an aqueduct until it rambles into Five Locks in Cwmbran. Trees and wildflowers line the path, making it a haven for birds and butterflies. It’s a mild walk that’s best enjoyed in small sections. Be sure to stop along the way to sample a local pub!

Dolmelynllyn Estate, Ganllwyd

This National Trust walk stretches through four miles of grassy hills, dramatic waterfalls and managed woodland in Snowdonia. It starts at Dolmelynllyn Farm in Ganllwyd, heading west towards the epic Rhaeadr Ddu Falls, a duo of waterfalls that has inspired artists for centuries. 

It then curves through a forest and conifer plantation before breaking onto the open mountain. From there, you’ll carry on towards a 19th-century gold mine and a ruined cottage before winding through other tree-lined paths and tarmac roads back to the start.

Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire

National Botanic Garden of Wales
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire
At the National Botanic Garden, the wooded valley of Pont Felin Gat displays ancient woodland flowers, culminating in a dramatic waterfall built 200 years ago. A leisurely stroll through the valley takes around an hour and a half. 

If you’re yearning for more scenery, take in the rest of the National Botanic Garden, which is housed in the 568-acre historic Middleton Hall estate. Walled gardens, formal borders, endless varieties of flora and a gallery provide a colourful day out.

Wherever you decide to go walking, be prepared and take care. Adventure Smart Wales has plenty of advice on how to ‘make a good day better’, and we recommend you read it before planning your days out.