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Autumn canal walks

Our canals and rivers are wonderful places to walk in the autumn, with 2,000 miles of traffic-free towpaths for you to explore.

Stoke Bruerne in the autumn

What springs to mind when you think about autumn? Is it the amazing colours, the musty autumnal smell in the air or the crunch of leaves underfoot? Walking by water makes you feel good at any time of year, but when you can admire the red-gold reflections in the rippling canal, swapping the pavement for the towpath is a trustworthy way to enjoy a happier day.

This is the time of year for crisp, dry days that are not too hot and not too cold. It's the perfect season to leave the car at home and commute to work along the towpath instead. Our canals often offer an alternative to busy roads and using them as part of your daily commute gives you a sense of wellbeing that no car or bus journey could. Look at our map to see if your office is close to a canal.

Take a break

You won't have to wander far along a towpath before coming across a cosy café or welcoming pub. Warm your hands on a steaming mug of hot chocolate, or stretch out in front of a log fire before enjoying your walk home.

Where to walk

The best thing about walking along our canals is that the ground is (nearly) always flat. The second best thing is that it's almost impossible to get lost. So once you've found your favourite canal, you can just follow your nose and go wherever takes your fancy.

Family days out

Alternatively you could check out our recommended places to visit, enjoy a fun-packed family day out and take a canalside stroll while you're there.

Wildlife watching in autumn

Our canals provide a home for nature, even in the centre of towns. Some wildlife comes to the UK in the autumn because we have a more plentiful supply of food and warmer climate to help them survive the winter.

  • As well as ducks and swans, look out for flocks of fieldfare and redwing arriving in October
  • You'll often spot berries growing in canal hedgerows. These are a great source of food for small mammals such as mice and voles.
  • Those piles of fallen leaves are likely to be munched by tiny insects, who turn decaying matter into fertile soil

Find out more about nature on our canals and rivers and the work of our environment team.

Free guides for fun days out

Looking for a perfect place to relax and unwind? Download your free regional guide today

Last Edited: 19 June 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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