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Get inspired this Autumn with adventurer Dave Cornthwaite’s favourite places to explore when the leaves start to turn in Britain and beyond.

hiking in the peak district uk

Travel may be tricky right now, but that's no reason to miss out on some Autumn adventure! From staycations to take advantage of the lovely British countryside, to inspiration for future autumnal trips across the pond, take a look at Dave's top five:


Hike the Peak District, England

While the Lake District has much to offer and lots of things to do in Autumn, I always plump for the Peaks, which are quieter and ever so beautiful. Quaint Yorkshire villages and hilltop wild camping spots, plenty of pubs, bed and breakfasts and campsites, wild winding roads through the hills and so much distance from anywhere that all of your day to day worries will wash away. This is my idea of the perfect weekend camping destination on crisp Autumn days.


Sunset at Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada CREDIT Dan Wildey.jpg

Canoe in Ontario, Canada

Some of my favourite paddling haunts are near Killarney in Ontario, and if you're looking for a great Autumn adventure holiday, grab a canoe and a few days’ worth of food and head off through the lake system of Killarney National Park. There are a few portages (where you carry a canoe over land) but none are too long, and there's nothing like sliding your boat into a new lake with fresh views, spotting bears on the shoreline and enjoying the company of chipmunks in camp at night.

Campsites need to be booked ahead of time, which reduces overcrowding. I fully recommend spending a few days kayaking on Georgian Bay and wild camping on granite rock islands, and taking a walk up to the famous Crack is a treat for the eyes. Killarney Outfitters can provide all the gear you need, so you don't need to think ahead about gear.



Henley-On-Thames in the Autumn, UK.jpg

Paddle the Thames

With the relative heat of the summer slowly retreating, there are few better ways to explore southern England than meandering along the Thames. Lechlade, Oxfordshire is a few miles downstream from the narrow source, but is a great place to put in. Want to take it slow? Give yourself a week and wind your way southeast towards London, passing through Oxford and Reading and suburban towns like Henley and Windsor before splashing into the capital.

There are a few locks along the way but they're paddler friendly, so whether you choose kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard you'll be welcomed every step of the way. I'd also be remiss to omit the key element of a trip through English countryside - there are plenty of lovely riverside pubs along the way.


Threecliff Bay Gower, Wales.jpg

Surf the Gower, Wales

The Gower Peninsula in west Wales is arguably the best place to hit the waves in the UK (although the award for consistent sets goes to Surf Snowdonia in North Wales, where an artificial surf spot offers great conditions for all abilities). But back to the natural stuff – I love the Gower.

Here you’ll find campsites a frisbee throw from long, sandy beaches, surf schools and board hire, and a comforting Atlantic wind that is always a pleasure. And with a good wetsuit the Autumn sea is warm enough to enjoy for hours, even if you're a rubbish surfer like me.



Mississippi River, Tenessee, USA.jpg

Explore the Mississippi River, USA

On all my travels, Memphis, Tennessee has been the place I most love to return to. I first visited in 2011, during a source to sea stand-up paddleboard journey along the Mississippi River, and the Lower Mississippi is just about my favourite place on the planet.

Each Autumn I lead a group paddling adventure along the hundred or so miles downstream from Memphis, always keen to introduce as many people as possible to the region. Wide open river, endless sandbanks to pitch a tent on, a plethora of driftwood for the evening fire and water just right for a dip, as eagles glide overhead.

Watching the passing barges is a reminder that humans are still around, and it's fascinating to see how much cargo they can push up or downstream - one tug often pushing as much as 1000 lorries-worth. Oh, and don't worry about alligators, they're much further downstream and they hide in the backwaters, anyway.


Join the YesTribe

Since I quit a job as the world's worst graphic designer in 2005 I've travelled the world slowly, without motors, and not a day passes without a stranger reminding me that people are good and kind. In 2015 I decided to try and turn my Facebook followers into real humans, so I invited them camping.

Those 19 folks who turned up underneath that train station clock were the founding members of the YesTribe, a community of 15,000+ now growing around the world. They range from 2 weeks old to over 90 and are bound by a lust for life, an appreciation of the outdoors as an ongoing antidote to the mental health struggles we face, especially living in cities.

We've now held five annual Yestivals, over 500 wild camps to encourage folks to Wake Up Wild, and hundreds of YesStories events. We also own 7 acres of woodland in Southern Oxfordshire, and a year-round countryside basecamp formed around a converted double decker bus in West Sussex.



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