A scenic trail, woodland or garden
Cornwall has everything from blissful woodlands and historic gardens to captivating coastlines
The best way to appreciate Autumn’s changing colours in Cornwall is by getting out and about, and enjoying everything this beautiful season and county has to offer.
Nothing truly beats the bracing cooler air and the sound of bird song in the woods. With the leaves crunching and rustling under your feet, and the yellow, red, gold and orange colours of the seasons, it’s both a wonderful and tranquil time to be in Cornwall.
You can’t go wrong with the following destinations for a great day out with, or without the family (listed in alphabetical order), as they not only provide gorgeous scenery, but lots of space for the kids to burn off all of that excess energy that you just know they have! There is something for everyone, and we’re sure that everybody will enjoy these seasonal treks.
For more than 600 years the Carew Pole family have lived, and continue to do so, in this imposing Torpoint home. Today it’s a National Trust property that boasts impressive gardens designed by landscape architect Humphry Repton, and playful topiary including a knot garden and it’s scattered with modern sculptures throughout.
Boscastle to Minster Church
Starting at Boscastle harbour, then walking inland along the River Valency and into Minster Valley. You’ll pass through attractive woodland, the track leading to the ancient Minster Church before winding back towards the sea.
With 650 acres of woodland, Cardinham Woods near Bodmin has four waymarked trails and miles of paths and tracks to enjoy. Children can have fun at the play area which is next to a café – a great place to refuel after a day of exploring.
This striking garden is close to Falmouth, and it offers a myriad of autumn colours as it winds down a sheltered valley to the sea. It’s a well-liked spot for families, as the grounds include an enchanting cherry laurel maze which was originally planted back in 1833.
This series of waterfalls and cascades are a delight along a section of the River Fowey as it passes through Draynes Wood on Bodmin Moor. A dramatic feature that winds through incredibly picturesque woodland, is the fast-flowing water. The route is laid out and maintained. Please note that the route is fine for walking children, however, much of the route is unsuitable for prams. There aren’t any dedicated picnic places, so you will need to bring a suitable ground covering should you want to take advantage of the numerous places where a woodland picnic is possible.
You’ll find Kennall Vale Nature Reserve hidden in Ponsanooth. Located between Redruth and Penryn, this peaceful woodland around the River Kennall is home to some remarkable remnants of Cornwall’s industrial past – namely an abandoned 18th Century gunpowder mill.
Situated between Bodmin and Lostwithiel, this late Victorian country house has almost 1,000 acres of parkland, woodland and heath on the estate that hosts trails and treks to keep young ones entertained.
Should you feel like cycling, there are gentle family-friendly routes as well as more exhilarating mountain bike descents! After a day of walking and/or cycling, you can quench your thirst in the restaurant or café.
Loe Pool is the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall and home to a variety of wildlife and it’s renowned for its bird population. It can be accessed via a National Trust wooded country estate that surrounds it.
Situated within walking distance of Helston and Porthleven, the lake is cut off from the sea by a broad shingle dam across the River Cober, heaped up by heavy Atlantic seas and the final resting place of many shipwrecks. You can spend hours walking the 17 miles of path and multi-use trails through woodland, plantation and parkland before relaxing – weather permitting – with a picnic on the beach.
Malpas to Tresillian
If you follow the footpath out of Malpas towards St Clement and Tresillian, you will see some amazing riverside views. Should you feel at all peckish along the way, why stop off at the Heron Inn for some delicious food and fine local ales. To save you trying to find somewhere to park, take a boat from Falmouth, Truro, or St Mawes to Malpas.
The largest wood in West Cornwall near Camborne, has over nine miles of paths. It also has 250 acres of tranquil woodland that features lakes, a café, and a picnic area.
Autumn is a wonderful time to explore this sub-tropical garden paradise. There is still plenty of Mediterranean colour and as winter approaches you can see the impressive bare structures of some of the individual trees, known as champion trees, which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance.
Trebah offers adventure play areas, children’s trails and regular special events.
Polgwidden Cove was used as an embarkation point for a regiment of the 29th US Infantry Division in 1944 for the assault landing on Omaha beach, part of the D-Day Landings. The beach is of historical importance and there are still some concrete structures from WWII era.
Owned by the National Trust, the Trelissick estate near Truro boasts a grand country house, 18th century quay, Iron Age promontory fort, diverse countryside, and woodland walks graced with maritime views. The garden is popular throughout the year, with the borders and hydrangeas still radiating colourful hues as the trees take an autumnal turn. There’s a café that offers a range of hot lunches, light refreshments, afternoon cream teas and even packed lunches for kids.
This alluring woodland garden on the outskirts of Penzance. It has an award-winning plant collection, sea views across Mount’s Bay, streams and ponds. It also has a kitchen garden. There’s a delightful café which has both indoor and outdoor seating, all set in its own walled garden. It serves drinks, light lunches, cakes, and ice cream.
Wadebridge to Polbrock
Following the River Camel upstream from Wadebridge, this is an easy walking route which heads inland across Treraven Farm nature reserve to the hamlet of Burlawn. The route then enters woodland and follows a stream to Hustyn Mill before following the Camel Trail back to Wadebridge along the edge of Gaff and Treraven woods.