1 September – 4 November

Chilly mornings, golden colour, soft sunshine – autumn is the perfect time to rediscover everything that is wonderful about the British countryside, but sometimes we need a little inspiration and help to get us started!

The National Trust’s Great British Walk brings together a whole season of walking-related events and activities to enjoy with family and friends. From wildlife rambles with rangers and inspirational journeys through history, to self-guided strolls and food foraging days, the Great British Walk showcases Britain’s most beautiful countryside, encased in glorious autumn colour.

The programme is ideal for families, with loads of action and incentives to get kids outside and exploring the natural world on their doorstep, particularly over the half term period. Kids can also take up the Trust’s ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾’ challenge, completing tasks that turn a walk into an adventure, such as animal tracking and playing conkers.

If you like doing your own thing at your own pace, then try out one of the National Trust’s new downloadable walks and way-marked trails. Many of the Trust’s houses and gardens sit within extensive country estates, so a tranquil stroll can take in acres of glorious parkland, meadows and ancient woodland, whilst a more challenging walk might encompass glorious hill-top views.

If you prefer walking in a group, there are hundreds of organised walking events to choose from, with opportunities to learn about local history, wildlife and nature conservation along the way. Group walks are also a great way to meet like-minded people and share the simple pleasure of walking.

Finally, don’t forget to share your walking experiences with friends. If you discover a fantastic new route, tell others about it, or even better, lead your own guided tour!

The National Trust’s website is brimming with additional ideas to make your outdoor adventure even more memorable. Follow a Ranger’s advice on how to make the perfect den, turn your bitter sloes into delicious sloe gin, or make a pretty decoration for your home, using woodland materials.¹

Here are a few of this year’s Great British Walk highlights in Kent:

Enjoy a 2 to 3 mile guided walk with the Ranger around the romantic Ightham Mote estate near Sevenoaks, strolling up One Tree Hill for magnificent views across the Weald. If you’d like to explore further afield, join a longer ramble of between 4 and 7 miles, taking in the glorious ancient woodland and stunning views of the Kent countryside. Ranger’s walk: 3 November, 11am – 1.30pm, £1, book on 01732 810378 ext 100. Countryside walk: 11 October, 11am – 3pm, £1, book on 01732 810378 ext 100.

For younger visitors, Ightham Mote’s Wild Child Woodland Trail gets kids out into Scathes Wood to learn about the woodland environment. Have fun identifying trees, looking for plants and animals, and listening to the sounds of nature. Wild Child Woodland Trail: 27 to 29 October & 1 to 4 November, 10.30am – 4.30pm, normal admission plus £1.

Kent’s last surviving medieval deer park – the glorious estate of Knole near Sevenoaks – covers 1,000 acres, and is home to over 400 deer descended from those hunted by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Find out more about the management of this landscape on a Ranger-led ramble that takes in one of England’s earliest ice houses.
Ranger Ramble: 1 November, 2 – 3pm, £2.50

Knole’s Autumn Park Trail takes families on a wander across the park and into the Gallops valley, where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I used to hunt! Solve puzzles along the way. Autumn Park Trail for Families: 31 October, 1 and 2 November, 11am – 2pm, £1.
Call 01732 462100 for further information on all events.

Chartwell near Westerham – former home of Sir Winston Churchill – is a place of breathtaking beauty, with pretty hillside gardens overlooking the lush Kentish Weald, and woods criss-crossed with walking routes.

Chartwell is celebrating the Great British Walk with a whole weekend of family woodland activities. Discover ‘chainsaw art’ and see blocks of wood transformed into sculptures, enjoy fun activities for children, guided walks and local crafts. Chartwell’s Children’s Autumn Colours trail takes kids around the gardens and woods, with puzzles to solve and tasks to fulfil along the way. Woodland Weekend: 27 and 28 October, 11am – 4.15pm, normal admission charge. Children’s Trail: 27 October to 4 November, 10.30am – 4.30pm, normal admission charge.

Emmetts Garden near Sevenoaks is home to hundreds of glorious native, exotic and rare trees, and today, it is difficult to believe how devastating an impact the Great Storm of 1987 had on this Edwardian estate. 25 years on, hear what happened on that fateful night, see photographs of the destruction and listen to stories about the massive clear-up operation, from the Ranger who lived and worked there at the time. 29 October, 10.30am – 12pm & 2 – 3.30pm, £10 (includes tea/coffee and cake), booking advisable on 01732 750367.

For further information on the Great British Walk, downloadable walking routes, autumnal crafts and recipes, and ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾’ , please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast