Cotswolds

Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh

The year begins at Batsford Arboretum with crisp winters, early aconites and blankets of snowdrops. Spring blooms with daffodils, narcissi and glades of bluebells, while the magnolia and cherry trees burst into flower – look out for the Davidia (pocket handkerchief) in late spring. During the summer, the ground is carpeted in buttercups, forget-me-knots and foxgloves and the trees are in full leaf. Autumn brings a dazzling display of reds, oranges and yellows, as well as vibrant berries, from Japanese acers and native oaks.

The majority of the arboretum’s landscaping is the legacy of Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, grandfather of the Mitford sisters who lived at Batsford during the First World War. Nancy Mitford’s classic novel, ‘Love in a Cold Climate,’ was partially set at Batsford.

Based in the Far East at the end of the 19th century, Freeman-Mitford became an expert on Japanese and Chinese culture. He brought these influences of the Orient back to Batsford, many of which can still be seen today. The red Japanese bridge is a photographer’s dream, offering a Monet-like spot to capture its reflection in the water. Elsewhere, the Japanese Rest House offers a peaceful, contemplative space. From here, look out for the imported bronze statues, which include the Buddha and two Japanese deer.

After the Mitfords left Batsford, it fell into decline until one of its more recent residents, Lord Dulverton, decided to restore it back to its former glory. He collected and introduced some rare and beautiful specimens, such as magnolia, maple and birch.

If you’re feeling peckish, the Garden Terrace Café offers tasty, home baked food made with locally sourced produce, opening for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The gift shop, garden shop and plant centre are definitely worth a browse.

Combine your trip to Batsford Aboretum with a visit to the neighbouring Cotswold Falconry Centre (home to around 150 birds of prey). If you pay full entry at one, you will receive a 10% discount on the other. The quintessentially Cotswold town of Moreton in Marsh is close by, home to some lovely cafes and independent shops.

Batsford Arboretum opens every day except for Christmas Day. Check their website for opening times and admission charges.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds here.

Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AD | 01386 701 441 |  batsarb.co.uk

Images copyright Sara Chardin

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