Celebrate the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness by wrapping up in Seasalt’s cosy new layers and planning a colourful walk in my favourite British woodlands.
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees.”
-To Autumn, by John Keats
FIVE MAGICAL PLACES TO SPOT AUTUMN COLOURS
Tiny Brownsea is a swift ferry hop and a whole world away from Poole and the Dorset mainland. Now managed by the National Trust, this mile-long storybook island has become a haven for wildlife, but as calm as it may seem these days, many acts of derring do have taken place on this little kingdom – it was a hideout for pirates, pillaged by Vikings, blitzed by Nazi bombers and became the birthplace of the Scouts movement. There’s a wonderful, relaxed three-mile walk that encircles the island – watch out for red leaves and red squirrels alike.
Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
Cornwall isn’t all windswept cliffs suitable for brooding, Poldark-style walks. Away from the coast are warm and gentle woodland valleys, and one of my favourites is Cardinham, where the oaks and alders are ablaze with colour right now (the Forestry Commission website even updates you on the latest hues – currently ‘turned golden’). There are four lovely trails to walk as well as challenging mountain biking loops meandering through the woods – keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers and otters in the river.
Wistman’s Wood, Devon
Dartmoor, but not as you know it. The moss-clad glen known as Wistman’s Wood is straight out of a fairy story. Oak branches scroll and creep low over green boulders in this enchanting forest near Princetown, and the crunch of russet leaves underfoot and the warm colours of the canopy at this time of year makes it even more beautiful. Try this lovely 2.6 mile or 4.6 mile ramble.
Glen Finglas, The Trossachs, Scotland
Ah, bonny Scotland. Dreaming of epic expanses of water, heather-clad fells and distant, snow-capped mountains? It all abounds in Glen Finglas, and even better, at the heart of the glen there’s an ancient woodland where the bright bluebells of spring are replaced by a rainbow of rich red and yellow leaves come autumn. If you fancy a really epic hike, try the formidable 17-mile Mell circuit.
Fan y Big, Wales
Fan y Big (no laughing at the back please) is just as gorgeous but far less trodden than fellow peak Pen y Fan, and a hike up to its summit will reward you with colour in your cheeks and a panoramic view of how autumn has painted the Brecon Beacons gold. This 8.5 mile walk takes in the top of the mountain and then winds down into Taf Fechan Forest.
Scandi-patterned jumpers, warm waterproofs, soft cords and smart ankle boots – Seasalt’s autumn offerings are fuss-free, beautiful pieces to greet the new season in. These are my favourites.
Encompass Coat, £150: I probably don’t need to tell you how iconic Seasalt’s rain jackets are. The longer length Encompass is as much about substance as it is style – it’s waterproof, windproof and lined with fleece so soft it feels like wearing a big hug.
Stay Sail II Top, £39.95: Seasalt’s classic Breton stripe gets an autumn update in stripes of seafaring navy and warm cinnamon. The Stay Sail II has a heavier weight than its summer sister and feels deliciously warm to wear. Worn with cords and boots it’s the ultimate in easy winter dressing.
Lamledra Trousers, £59.95: Swap your tired jeans for these jewel-coloured comfy cords – they’re so soft they feel like velvet. I love wearing mine rolled up, with ankle boots and a thick jumper.
Endurance Jumper, £79.95: Is there anything better on a chilly day than a Scandi-style pullover made of soft lambswool? The bright yoke of the Endurance will cheer up the rainiest days.
Rosie Boots, £79.95: Stomp through leaves in these luxe-looking leather Chelsea boots – their springy soles make them a pleasure to wear even on long distances and they go with absolutely everything. The wardrobe staple you didn’t know you needed.