Autumn is that time of year where you just want to slip on your boots and get out in the crisp air. Walking down country paths with the crunch of leaves underfoot and the golden, brown, and orange hues of autumn leaves on the trees above. The Dales has all of this and more with rolling hils, stone walls, ancient forests and idyllic villages. Some of our favourite autumn places in the Yorkshire Dales to visit
The Yorkshire Dales national park comes to life in different ways throughout the year. And, when autumn might be a time to hide away from the dark nights and cold autumn winds, we can’t wait to get out and enjoy a stroll its waterfalls, huge lakes, ancient woodlands and more.
After all, what’s better after a walk in the colder climates, than a nice cosy Yorkshire Dales pub serving up locally brewed ales.
1. Malham Cove, Janet’s Foss & Gordale Scar Walk
One of the Yorkshire Dales’ most popular walks, it just hits different this time of year. Set in a wooded area, Janet’s Foss waterfall transforms into something an artist would be proud to paint with the seasonal colours. The Yorkshire walk takes you from Malham to Janet’s Foss, on to the iconic Gordale Scar, and up to Malham Cove.
The fractured limestone produces a unique spooky environment that is a breathtaking vantage point from which to overlook God’s Own Country.
Head down the steep steps to complete your 4-mile circular back to Malham where you can visit one of its lovely pubs such as the Lister Arms for a well-earned bevvie. Malham, Skipton BD23 4DJ
2. Hackfall Wood
The beautiful wood may appear natural, but, it was actually designed and moulded by man that’s not to say its not one of the best forest walks in Yorkshire. It won the highly coveted 2011 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage. Obviously, you should visit the award-winning woodland, and head on down to this awe-inspiring forest.
Also, it’s a Grade I listed garden and has had a hard life with logging operations in the 1930s almost ruining its landscape, but with funding in 1980 and a major restoration in 2007 this beautiful woodland is still a strong contender for an autumn walk in the Yorkshire Dales .
3. The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park
In the autumn of Yorkshire Dales, The Hutts, a name stemming from Norse origins meaning “Head of the Valley,” unveils its privately owned woodland garden spanning 20 acres, now expanded to an impressive 45 acres.
As autumn sets in, this garden flourishes, boasting a reputation for housing the North’s most extensive assortment of rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias. The landscape is adorned with nearly 20,000 plants, showcasing a staggering array of flora, including approximately 1,400 rhododendron varieties, 250 azalea variations, and 150 distinct magnolias, complemented by a 20-acre arboretum.
4. Skipton Castle Woods
During autumn in the Yorkshire Dales, nestled behind one of Britain’s renowned medieval castles, you’ll find Skipton Castle Woods—a precious ancient woodland habitat conveniently accessible from the bustling high street.
Rich in a thousand years of captivating history and graced with breathtaking seasonal exhibitions and diverse wildlife, Skipton Castle Woods is an essential stop if you find yourself in the vicinity.
Among the Woodland Trust’s exceptional locations, this one stands out, offering a plethora of attractions for both nature enthusiasts and families. So, when autumn paints the Dales in vibrant hues, take a break from the high street, embrace the natural ground beneath your boots, and embark on an exploratory journey.
5. Visit the village of Burnsall
When I think about the places my imagination took me when reading fairytale storybooks as a child, the scenes consisted of ample greenery, stunning arched bridges, hills for miles and, of course, magical castles complete with towers and flags. And while the leafy Burnsall doesn’t quite have a grand palace made of stone, it does have everything else.
Nestled in the South of the Yorkshire Dales in the picturesque Wharfedale, Burnsall is a tiny rural village with just a handful of homes there, all perfectly positioned along the twinkling River Wharfe.
6. Ingleborough Waterfall Walk
Located at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales near our sworn enemies in Lancashire, the Ingleton Waterfall Trail is loved by many – and for good reason, too, since it’s as magical as it sounds.
Offering majestic sights of five main waterfalls and eight water spots in total, the trail follows the River Twiss and the River Doe from the Ingleton starting point, where, along the way, you’ll also be treated to spectacular sights of one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, Ingleborough. Autumn along the trail is magical as the trees lose their leaves and the waterfalls are a little fuller with the amount of rainfall.
7. Hardraw Force
Tucked away in The Yorkshire Dales behind a pub of all places is one of England’s most unique waterfalls. Unlike most waterfalls which one must endeavour on a perilous Lord of the Rings-esque journey, you can just head outside after a swift half and view one of the countries most beautiful natural wonders, Hardraw Force Waterfall – England’s highest single drop waterfall.
It’s a beautiful short walk, perfect for those cold autumn days. And, we know people will enjoy the fact there is a beautiful pub sat just at the start of the walk.
8. James Herriot Woodland Walk
Named after Alf Wight, or James Herriot, the James Herriot Wood in Swaledale’s south-facing fellside is a young woodland, planted in 2021-22 with 1,875 trees. It extends tree cover, forming a natural wildlife corridor amidst the heather moor and existing deciduous woodland. The woodland is a tribute to Alf Wight, who deeply loved the Yorkshire Dales and shared his experiences through his writings, showcasing his connection to the people, animals, and unique landscape of the area.
9. Bolton Abbey & Strid Wood
Strid Wood is one of the most visited in the Yorkshire Dales. It hugs the bank of the River Wharfe and has a great and varied path to take. There are some high-up walks to take as well as a chance to paddle in the water.
Bolton Abbey is an absolute delight all year round – with sights to see around every corner you turn. But there’s an added magic to both the wood and the abbey at this time of year, thanks to the turn in the leaves and the cooler atmosphere. The place is steeped in history, too, so there’s plenty to explore no matter how many times you visit. Bolton Abbey, Skipton, BD23 6AL.
10. Freeholders Wood
Home of the famous Aysgarth Falls, Freeholders hug the River Ure. It’s been around for hundreds of years and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There is a range of British trees such as holly, ash, wych, elm, oak and rowan, but the dominant is hazel. It’s a beautiful short circular walk that takes in the river during the autumn time when the leaves are hues of reds, browns, yellows and more.
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