The clocks went back last weekend, so being reminded of the imminent arrival of winter we decided to visit the local Batsford Arboretum to enjoy a wander through the 56 acre estate – followed by the ubiquitous hot beverage (and cake) in the coffee-shop!
Batsford Estate is situated between Broadway and Moreton-In-Marsh, and belonged through various inheritances, to the Redesdale aristocracy and Mitford family – including the notorious and scandalous six sisters of the 1930s and 1940s. However, the development of the estate was established in the 1890s under the influence of the 1st Lord Redesdale (Algernon Freeman-Mitford) who had worked for the foreign office in Russia, Japan and China in the 1860s. The oriental landscape became a passion for Lord Redesdale and his friendship with successive directors of Kew Royal Botanical Garden certainly helped his landscape designs, creating a wild garden of naturalistic planting derived from observations in China and Japan.
Shortly after the end of WW1 when the heavy expense of running such an estate forced the Mitford’s to sell, it was bought by Lord Dulverton, and it was this family who continued to invest time, effort and money into developing the gardens and arboretum that is seen today – with the introduction of collection of rare Birch, Maple, Oak, Ash, Lime, Magnolia, Mountain Ash, Pine, Fir and Spruce trees.
The collection covers a wide range of plants from around the world but have an emphasis on the Far East, with over 2,850 labelled specimens including about 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo.
Definitely worth a visit - and probably not just restricted to autumn!
Left: It was interesting to see and read about the Wollemi Pines and the links between Batsford and Sydney's Botanic Garden as Paul and I visited the latter on a couple of occasions.