Seven of the best places for autumn walks in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Merseyside

Seven of the best places for autumn walks in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Merseyside

Peter Cairns/2020VISION

Russet leaves, fantastical fungi, exciting wildlife – autumn is a feast for the senses, and our region is full of wonderfully wild, peaceful places to experience the seasonal shift.

Autumn walks are the perfect way to embrace what could be seen as a gloomier period in the calendar. The temperature is dropping, it’s raining more than usual and everything seems to be quietening down in the natural world – but wrap up warm, pull on your waterproofs or pack a brolly, and you may find that tuning into this new page in nature’s calendar is just what you needed.

Here are seven of the best places for autumn walks in our region

Autumn walks in Lancashire

Autumn in Lancashire brings bouncy carpets of fiery leaves and the spectacle of bird migration. Whether you take your walk to a crisp woodland or the windswept coast, there is always something to see.

Brockholes, Preston

Brockholes nature reserve brims with unforgettable nature moments right through the year, but it’s really memorable in autumn. The lakes reflect trees burning with autumn colour, the woods harbor strange and unusual fungi, and the whole reserve plays host to the spectacle of bird migration. Look out for redwings stripping berries from the trees, rafts of ducks bobbing about on Number One Pit, and as autumn meets winter, hypnotic starling murmurations swirling through the sky.

Mere Sands Wood, Rufford

Mere Sands Wood is one of the best places in Lancashire to see autumn fungi. Each year the woods erupt with everything from puffballs to stinkhorns to bracket fungi. Some of the top species to look out for include the collared earthstar, common stinkhorn, beefsteak fungus, yellow stagshorn, common earthball and fly agaric.

Heysham Nature Reserve, Heysham

Sitting right on the Lancashire coast means that Heysham Nature Reserve is a fantastic place to experience the autumn bird migration. Redwings and fieldfares join mistle thrushes and song thrushes in trees heavy with berries, bramblings flit overhead on the way to their favourite winter haunts, and it isn’t unusual to spot a yellow-browed wabler resting and refueling in the trees en-route to South and South-East Asia.

Autumn walks in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to wild places to escape the hustle and bustle, with pretty woods and beautiful views waiting to wash away any winter blues that might be brewing.

Kirkless Local Nature Reserve, Ince

Kirkless Local Nature Reserve started life as the largest iron and steelworks in Europe. Now, striking cylindrical blocks of slag affectionately known as the ‘Rabbit Rocks’ act as the perfect spot to sit and enjoy sweeping views across Wigan and, on exceptionally clear autumn days, all the way to Snowdonia. Views aside, there is one more reason to take an autumn walk at Kirkless – when the trees have shed their leaves it’s much easier to spot the incredibly rare willow tits that call this reserve home.

The Kingfisher Trail, Greater Manchester

The beauty of the Kingfisher Trail is that it offers walks for everyone, from gentle strolls through picturesque parkland to 14-mile hikes along the whole trail, which connects the West Pennine Moors to Bolton, Bury and Salford. Some of the best places for an autumn walk on the Kingfisher Trail are Longsight Park, where the trees beam with orange and yellow; Seven Acres Local Nature Reserve, where you can watch kingfishers and dippers; and Clifton Country Park, where the lake fills with teal, goldeneye and gadwall as the cold sets in.

Autumn walks in North Merseyside

In Merseyside, autumn means unforgettable wildlife and breath-taking scenery with a rolling coastline, fragrant pine woods and wild wetlands to explore.

Lunt Meadows, Maghull

There is never a shortage of wildlife at Lunt Meadows, but arguably, the reserve really comes into its own during autumn and winter. The pools and scrapes fill with wigeon, teal, gadwall, tufted ducks and shovelers; snipe, jack snipe and hundreds of lapwings; and even sometimes rarities like the American golden plover. The fields that border the reserve are taken over by thousands of pink-footed geese, but the real stars of the show are the short-eared owls who spend each autumn and winter hunting on the reserve.

The Sefton Coast

Merseyside autumn walks wouldn’t be complete without days out along the Sefton Coast. The views are incredible, the wildlife even more so, and there are much fewer crowds than the warmer months of the year. The pinewoods of Ainsdale and Formby are great places to watch red squirrels gathering food in preparation for winter, before you head out onto the rolling sand dunes for a bracing walk by the sea. Then there is Freshfield Dune Heath, another red squirrel hot-spot and the single largest lowland heath left in the north west of England.

So what are you waiting for? Wrap up warm and head outside to enjoy the best of autumn’s beauty.

Find an autumn walk near you

Acorn by Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION