Striding out to autumn glory

Alfred Wainwright was seduced by the awe-inspiring landscape of the Lake District in the 1930s and went on to write his beautifully illustrated guidebooks of the region for fell walkers. A century earlier William Wordsworth described Grasmere as ‘the loveliest spot that ever man hath found.’
You won’t find Wordsworth’s famous ‘host of golden daffodils’ at this time of year, but you can enjoy the dramatic mountain scenery ablaze with autumnal colours.
The great Romantic poet is buried in the churchyard just along the lane and Dove Cottage, his former home, is a short walk from The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa. The  hotel offers great walking from the doorstep and has some stunning views of the  hills and valleys. 
A good base for trekking in the Yorkshire Dales as well as the Lakes is Appleby Manor, which is offering four nights for the price of three until the end of October. Set in four acres of grounds in Appleby-in-Westmoreland, the hotel has great views over Appleby Castle, the Eden Valley and Lakeland fells.
Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a favourite of walkers and bird-watchers attracted by its grandeur and isolation. There are gritstone fells, steep wooded valleys and heather-covered peat moorland to explore.
This year the county is marking the 400th anniversary of the trial of the Witches of Pendle with special events and tours of Lancaster Castle, where ten people accused of witchcraft were hanged in 1612. 
Nearby Gibbon Bridge Hotel, which is set in award-winning gardens deep in the forest, provides details of Witches Trail walking routes. These include one up Pendle Hill which, according to legend, was the launching pad for witches’ flights. Beware low-flying broomsticks!
If you plan to take a four-legged friend, Combe House in Devon is another historic country house hotel with a novel line in walking routes. Toby’s Dog-Friendly Walks is supposedly compiled by Toby, a dalmatian, and features ten coast and country itineraries ranging from easy half-mile strolls to more challenging six-mile hikes.
They take in hills, moorland and beaches and include two circular routes starting from the hotel, an Elizabethan manor house near Honiton. Each walk contains information on dog-friendly pubs and refreshment stops, as well as places worth visiting. That sounds sure to set tails wagging.
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