We love autumn in North Devon. The region still gets enough sunshine and heat to make it a pleasure to enjoy the area. Plus, North Devon is a nature and wildlife paradise with Exmoor, beaches, lots of fields, and areas of outstanding natural beauty that only become more enchanting in autumn. During September, October and November the area comes alive with reds and browns mixed in with the summer greens, the ideal time to get the camera out. Discover the best places to see autumn leaves in North Devon, as we highlight some of the areas we should all be enjoying.
Halsdon Nature Reserve
(Image by Kevin New from www.devonwildlifetrust.org/what-to-see-autumn)
In the heart of the Devon countryside, but still classed as North Devon, is this Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve that surrounds the River Torridge. Trees, running water, wildlife, it’s all here. If you enjoy hiking, there’s a walk that takes you to a place known locally as ‘the top of the world’ because of the amazing views across to distant Dartmoor.
Naturally it’s a top wildlife spot. In autumn look for the fungi on the woodland floor and on the branches of trees. Looking up, enjoy the colours of the trees and listen for the calls of long-tailed tits and tawny owls, or even spotted woodpeckers hammering away. Kingfisher and otters live around the River Torridge too.
The walk around the Reserve includes the stunning Tarka Trail (yes, the one that runs right through North Devon, this is where it all starts) leads you through grassland and over historic bridges.
Open all year round, have you experienced Rosemoor gardens yet? Accessible to everyone and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, families can enjoy the autumn leaves at a leisurely pace. Crunching leaves, admiring the autumn colours, learning about the beautiful array of plants, there are always things going on to keep the family entertained.
If you haven’t been before, discover RHS Rosemoor Gardens here.
The ancient woodland at Heddon Valley provides the opportunity to enjoy being beside the River Heddon, in a grand valley, kicking piles of crisp autumn leaves as you go. Walkers will emerge where the river meets the sea, with towering cliffs on both sides. From the beach explore the old lime kiln, and then follow the trail back to spot wildlife in the woodland and enjoy a warm drink at the Hunter’s Inn.
Bicclescombe Park, Ilfracombe
If you’re looking to take in nature but have young children with you, there are a number of parks in North Devon which are ideal for enjoying the autumn leaves. At Bicclescombe in Ilfracombe kids can play on the slides, swings and frames in the park, then feed the ducks as you walk around the park as a family enjoying being in a small pocket of nature.
Rock Park Barnstaple
Another option is Rock Park in Barnstaple. Again whilst there are family friendly facilities and options to play and let off steam, Rock Park is also a place to wander along the river bank and to simply pick a bench or spot to sit under the trees with an autumn picnic on a warmer day.
West Down, near Ilfracombe
You may be thinking, where? This little village sits in the rolling hills of North Devon between Braunton and Ilfracombe has a surprising number of walks, and therefore is a good place to hunt for those colourful autumn leaves. West Down is the perfect blend of old and new; historical buildings untouched with slate roofs from the 14th century are mixed with modern and grand builds. There’s a shop and the village pub, The Crown.
In terms of footpaths, they are well maintained and easily marked. The fine walks head out from the centre through the trees and fields, and some are circular routes. Park in the centre of the village and see where your feet take you; one option is Rock Hill, where a turn off to the left as you go up the hill leads you down into an area that always looks beautiful in autumn along a muddy, wellie-wearing route.
Did you know there are over twenty miles of footpaths on the Arlington estate? Plenty of room to enjoy the autumn vibes and maybe even spot some deer. From a gentle two mile stroll to more ambitious five mile hikes, all abilities have routes and autumn scenery to enjoy. Or stay near the manor and tea room to relax in the gardens.
In autumn the Deer Park walk provides a chance to see the elusive Red Deer who roam the parkland. Then for autumn colour, enjoy the Lake Walk as the path along the water provides a beautiful patchwork of red, golds and oranges. Beautiful!
Have we got your walking toes tingling? Have we got you itching to photograph some autumn scenery? Is your little one begging to jump in leaves? Then get out around North Devon and enjoy autumn in whatever way you feel best. Let us know what you get up to via our social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.