THE poet John Keats claimed autumn is the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. Which is precisely the sort of thing a poet would say.

Less romantic souls would describe it as the season when you’re liable to go skiting on your bahookie with all those wet leaves lying around the place.

The Herald Magazine is a haven for romantics, however, so we’ll stick with the Keats definition.

Besides, this truly is the perfect time to huddle inside a duffel coat, sling on a woolly scarf, and go for an atmospheric stroll in a tree-lined place where the leaves crunch underfoot (when they’re not soaking wet, that is) and the air is fresh and biting.

It’s also fun to explore the foggy gothic mysteries of autumn.

Following are our favourite strolls to enjoy during this most subtle yet enticing of seasons …

Rouken Glen Park

This location in Glasgow’s south side has always been a Jekyll and Hyde sort of place to enjoy an autumnal ramble. Or a two-for-one landscape, if you prefer a less sinister description.

One half of the park is elegantly maintained and meticulously landscaped, with a playpark for children, outdoor exercise machines and a pond for swans to preen themselves in.

Across a hectic waterfall lurks a wilder, more romantic outdoor arena of trees with bent and buckled branches, looking very much like the arthritic fingers of a fairy tale witch.

Perhaps Hansel and Gretel are lost around here, somewhere. Though hopefully the poor wee souls have managed to safely scramble their way to The Boathouse eatery, located on the banks of Rouken Glen pond, where hot chocolate and cake will plump them up, so the witch can enjoy a feast when she finds them.

The Necropolis

Autumn isn’t merely the mellow season celebrated by Keats. It’s also a time of year for those who adore gothic gore.

Luminous orange leaves on snaking pathways are a reminder that the bright orange grins of carved pumpkins are but a tremulous heartbeat away. To enjoy the ultimate goth experience, plug your earphones in. Now tune in to Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash.

Next, shuffle your feartie feet all the way across Glasgow’s atmospheric graveyard, the Necropolis. In the twilight hours the phantasmagoric shadows will reach out to you from beneath the Victorian tombstones.

A stroll in such a place will surely get you in the mood for an autumnal angst-reducer, in the form of a bracing whisky, sipped at Rab Ha’s hostelry in the nearby Merchant City.

Botanic Gardens

Autumn is the sneakiest season. Just when you’re revelling in all that crisp, clean sunlight, along comes a downpour, forcing you to dash for cover.

Thankfully Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens will provide welcome shelter, with its handy greenhouses keeping you dryer than any flyaway umbrella ever could.

And because the greenhouses are made of glass, you can gaze through them in order to quickly spy the sun’s return, allowing you to triumphantly flounce outdoors once again, until the next downpour starts, in precisely two minutes time.

During those brief sojourns in the sun, you’ll be able to enjoy a muted quilt of autumnal colours. Plenty of golds, yellows and browns. (Plus the occasional rustic red, if you’re lucky.)

As the Gardens are located in the city’s west end, you can pop over to Oran Mor for a warming whisky or soothing hot chocolate.

The Hermitage

This site in Dunkeld has impressively large Douglas firs, including one of the tallest in the country.

And we know what fir trees mean, don’t we? Plenty of pinecones to scuff our shoes through.

Once you’re bored with all that pinecone scuffing, there’s the folly of Ossian’s Hall to marvel at, which overlooks the Black Linn waterfall.

Then enjoy some hearty scoff at The Perth Arms Hotel in Dunkeld High Street, where live music is often played. (Though we’re not sure the folky musicians will play the Monster Mash, even if you ask them politely.)

Dollar Glen

There’s top-dollar entertainment of the rambling kind to be enjoyed at Dollar Glen. Cascading waterfalls? It’s got ‘em.

Deep gorges? Ditto. Woodland walks? But of course, sir and madam. Step this way.

There are even the ancient remains of a 15th-century fortress, Castle Campbell, to gaze upon, awestruck.

If that’s not enough stimulation for an autumn saunter, we can also reveal that there are 100 different types of moss scattered through the landscape. (Though the last time the Herald Magazine team visited, we only counted 99. We obviously weren’t concentrating hard enough.)

For refreshment, visit The Inn at Muckhart for a warming drink and nibbles.

Holyrood Park

The 640 acres of lush landscape next to Holyrood Palace includes Arthur’s Seat, which is great for a stroll of the vertiginous variety. Not so many trees on this walk, though there are stunning views of Edinburgh, and early in the evening you’ll be rewarded with a golden autumnal skyline. (Unless the golden autumnal skyline is obscured by grey autumnal mists.)

If the mists get too murky, wade through all that wispiness till you find yourself in Brew Lab in South College Street, where a hot chocolate awaits. (You have to pay for it, of course. It’s not just sitting there in a mug, whispering enticingly: “Drink me, please! Go on, I’d be delighted if you took a big gulp.”)

Grey Mare’s Tail

We previously mentioned the English bard John Keats, so it’s only fair that we also name-drop a Scottish versifier.

Step forward Sir Walter Scott, who scribbled many lines of poesy before becoming more famous as the world’s first author of airport thrillers. (Which he managed to do more than a century before the invention of the airport. Clever chap.)

One of Scott’s finest poems was Marmion, where he mentions Gray Mare’s Tail, a spectacular waterfall in the Moffat hills, which takes a 60m dive from Loch Skeen into the valley below. You can also spot peregrine falcons, ospreys and wild goats.

For a hearty repast after your walk, try the Black Bull Inn, in Moffat, where there are good things to gargle and gobble.

Bracklinn Falls

Had enough trees, leaves and waterfalls? Hopefully not, because this walk on the outskirts of Callander has more of the same. Cross the Bracklinn Falls on the picturesque bridge then take a circular stroll along the river, with spruce and fir trees overhead.

Afterwards enjoy a warming whisky at The Old Bank Restaurant in Callander.

Faskally Woods

Home to the Enchanted Forest autumn event, where the trees are lit up in beguiling colours in the evening, turning the woodland and timber bridge into a fairy tale grotto.

During the day, the season’s sombre shades shimmer off Loch Faskally.

A variety of drinks plus wholesome food is available nearby at Pitlochry’s Old Mill Inn.

Pass of Killiecrankie

Gorge yourself on the wooded gorge that is the Pass of Killiecrankie, with the River Garry gushing through it. The first of the Jacobite risings was fought nearby, though the only skirmish there’ll be this autumn involves stout walking boots duelling with heaps of golden leaves.

After your amble, you and your victorious boots can enjoy a warming bowl of soup at the Killiecrankie Visitor Centre and JacoBite Café.