Autumn Colours at Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 11:59:00 AM
Although the English summer has ended, there's still lots to see and do in and around Gloucestershire. This last week I've taken several groups on guided coach tours of the Cotswolds and we've called in to Batsford Arboretum which has one of the largest private collections of trees in the country.  We've soaked up the glorious autumn colours as the leaves on the trees have changed from green, to hues of gold, orange and red.
In among the collection of magnificent trees, which are from around the world, are Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), deciduous trees with a graceful habit and beautiful foliage, which at this time of year turn the most striking colours. Also there are trees and bushes resplendent in masses of coloured berries, cones, seed pods, flowers and spent foliage - its quite breathtaking.

The advantage of visiting Batsford Arboretum is that there is an easy walk from the car park to a new and very large visitor centre, with a sizeable café.   The food is good and is reasonably priced and there is an extensive shop and a very good plant centre, so there is plenty to see and do for those whose mobility isn't good or the rain comes and shelter is needed.

The Batsford Estate in Gloucestershire was inherited by Lord Redesdale in 1886, and he immediately set about building a new house overlooking the Evenlode Valley.  In 1890 he began developing the land around it as a woodland garden with 'Asian Influences'.  In the past, Lord Redesdale had worked for the Foreign Office and had spent a long time in China and Japan, so there are oriental style bridges crossing streams, a Japanese Rest House, sculptures of a Budda, a Foo Dog and some Japanese Sikka deer in amongst the trees.

In 1919 Gilbert Hamilton Wills MP, later 1st Lord Dulverton bought  the estate.  In 1956, his son, the 2nd Lord Dulverton set about restoring the gardens after long neglect due to the 2nd World War.  The 2nd Lord Dulverton had a fascination and special interest in trees and began creating a new arboretum within the garden.  The arboretum has become established, the colours and varieties of trees have created a beautiful park and it is what we enjoy today and there is lots of interest throughout the year.

I look forward to taking people back to Batsford Arboretum in the spring when there are  displays of flowering bulbs – swathes of snowdrops, daffodils, narcissi and bluebells.  There's the beautiful blossom of the magnolia trees, the flowering cherries as well as the exotic Davidia Involucrata tree especially when the white bracts appear and dangle like handkerchiefs from its branches.

To book a guided coach tour for your group to include a visit to Batsford Arboretum.
Contact:  Cotswolds Blue Badge Tour Guide - Anne Bartlett

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