The book, which accompanies the Great British Walk 2014, will be available to buy from 25 September from National Trust shops as well as online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop.
National Trust research has revealed that 84% of people find that the kaleidoscope of natural colours experienced on an autumn walk make them feel happier, healthier and calmer at a time when more than 40% admit to feeling down as the nights draw in. Running through the woods and along the river, the route at Hardcastle Crags is just one of many walks from the book which is perfect for exploring a rainbow of autumn colours.
Read the excerpt below for a flavour of the walks ready to be discovered:
Exploring Hardcastle Crags
This lovely walk takes you into Hardcastle Crags, a famous beauty spot in the South Pennines with more than 400 acres (162ha) of unspoilt woodland. The route passes through a steep-sided valley alongside tumbling streams, heading towards Gibson Mill, a former cotton mill transformed into a visitor centre that explores the valley’s history over the past 200 years.
Things to see
Water from Hebden Water kept the many mills that once operated in the valley running. The dams, weirs and millponds you see today are all that remain of this thriving industry, with the exception of Gibson Mill. Look out for dragonflies hovering over the ponds in spring and summer.
Flora and fauna
The woodland and streams attract many types of birds including dipper, jay, woodpecker, grey wagtail, heron, goldcrest and nuthatch. The damp, shaded conditions are perfect for many species of fern, moss and lichen. Lichens are especially sensitive to pollution so their presence indicates good air quality. Bluebells cover the woodland floor in spring, while autumn sees hundreds of varieties of fungi emerge. The woods are also home to the northern hairy wood ant.
The nineteenth-century former cotton-spinning and weaving mill that lies at the heart of the valley is now championing sustainable technology. Gibson Mill is completely cut off from the National Grid, so it has to generate all its own power as well as recycle all its waste. It uses solar panels and water-powered turbines, and even the lift works via green technology.
For publications wishing to request a sample of the book for review, please contact the Press Office.