There’s a reason why a country walk in the Autumn is such a delightful thing to do; it’s the feeling of wrapping up warm and breathing in that insatiable smell of fallen leaves, it’s the dazzling display of rich burgundies and warm golds that ignite the landscape around you, it’s watching the animals scurry past, feverishly preparing for the colder months ahead and it’s the welcoming sound of the kettle boiling when you return home happy and rejuvenated from your day’s adventure.
Here, Jess from the team shares some of her favourite circular walking trails to experience that 'oh so hygge' feeling for yourselves…
Commoners’ Way, Corfe Castle (5.5 miles)
This walk is one of a series designed to help families understand more about the history of the Isle of Purbeck.
The Commoners’ Way starts and finishes by the pretty Kingston Church (known as the Cathedral of the Purbeck) and follows the story of the common working folk who made a living off the land for thousands of years.
What makes this walk so captivating is how the leaflet explains the history behind what you are seeing in front of you - it’s as if you’ve hired your very own private guide!
One of the highlights of the walk has to be the views you get of Corfe Castle over the valley and in Autumn especially, looking down into the valley is a sight to behold!
Jess’s top tip: The wonderfully quaint village of Corfe Castle is an excellent place to stop for some tasty pumpkin soup!
Raleigh’s Country Retreat at Sherborne (6.4 miles)
This walk takes in one of the best displays of Autumn colour you’ll see in Dorset.
The route will take you about 3 hours and leads you past the gentle hills and dairy villages south of Sherborne and through the open parkland and woodland of the majestic Sherborne Castle estate.
The Castle’s 30 acre 'Capability Brown' gardens are planted with trees including Acers and 30 named cultivars of Japanese Maples providing spectacular photo opportunities of the beautiful autumnal leaf colours.
Jess’s top tip: If you have time after your walk, then a visit into Sherborne town is a must with many places of interest including the impressive Abbey – the ceilings will take your breath away!
Sturminster Marshall (7.8 miles)
North Dorset really comes into its own in the Autumn and stepping out over the Blackmore Vale as the season turns is a real joy.
The first half of this beautiful walk takes you from Sturminster Marshall along the old railway line, grassy bridleways and field edges to Spetisbury. The second half follows the tranquil river on the Stour Valley Way to White Mill.
Few things in life can beat walking in this part of Dorset - picking blackberries from the hedgerows, the haunting sound of the deer rut and the puffs of smoke rising from distant cottage chimney pots.
Dorchester to Thomas Hardy’s Cottage (7 miles)
Set in the beautiful Thorncombe Woods, Thomas Hardy’s home and birthplace lies in a quiet and remote position.
This is a fairly easy walk from Dorchester (although wellies are strongly recommended after wet weather) and takes you past Stinsford and its church, where you can visit the resting place of Hardy's heart, his two wives and other members of his family.
As you take in the scenery around you, you can really imagine treading in Hardy’s footsteps. Much of the route would have been walked by the great writer and the landscape used as settings and inspiration for many of his works.
Jess’s top tip: Stop off for a warming hot chocolate at the Greenwood Cafe next to the Visitor Centre whilst you immerse yourself in a chapter from your favourite Hardy novel.
Wareham Walls (1 mile)
The Wareham Town Walls were built to defend the town from the Vikings and surround the town on three sides (the fourth side being defended by the River Frome).
This short and easy walk around the ramparts will take about 45 minutes and is perfect if you have young children in tow or cannot manage a longer walk.
The Walls give a fantastic view over the Saxon town and the River Piddle and reveal hidden pockets of Wareham you didn’t know existed. There are information boards dotted along the way that reveal the secrets of the past.
Jess’s top tip: We enjoyed solving a Dorset Treasure Trail after finishing this walk which added a fun element to our day out.