The Best Autumn Walks in the Cotswolds
When autumn arrives it brings an incredible palette of seasonal colours. Leaves range from bright yellow to deep red, the skies glisten a clearer shade of blue, and a crisp breeze fills the autumn air. The splendour of the Cotswolds really comes to life. If you want to set out on foot to explore the glory of autumn in the the region, here are some of the best walks and excursions available to you.
Batsford Arboretum is a 55-acre arboretum and botanical garden near Batsford in Gloucestershire that is the perfect spot for an autumnal walk. With 1,300 different species of trees, shrubs and bamboo waiting to be discovered, it comes alive in late September. With a mixture of level walkways and more challenging hills, there's a route for every skill level. You can pick up a map at the entrance, or take a leap of faith and just wander. In its blazing autumn finery, Batsford Arboretum is a place like no other.
Broadway Tower is another great walking destination during the autumn months, which can be stop-off point as part of a larger North Cotswolds walking holiday. The tower is one of England's most outstanding viewpoints, and at 312 metres above sea level, it is the second highest point in the Cotswolds. It was designed by James Wyatt in 1794 to resemble a mock castle. Today during a clear autumn day the tower offers uninterrupted views of up to 16 counties. During the autumn forests and farmland are a rainbow of different colours, which are a feast for the eyes. Once you have ascended Broadway Tower for its fine views, you can meander down into the ever picturesque village of Chipping Campden.
WINCHCOMBE AND BELAS KNAP
Winchcombe and Belas Knap are also perfect destinations for an autumnal stroll. Winchcombe is a town right in the heart of the Cotswolds and during the autumn shades of orange, yellow and red colour its countryside paths. Belas Knap is a chambered long barrow, nearby on Cleeve Hill, which is fascinating to visit at any time of year. The ancient monument dates from around 3000 BC. Excavations in 1963 found the remains of 38 human skeletons, animal bones, and pottery dating from the Neolithic period. During the darker autumn days Belas Knap holds a unique and powerful atmosphere.
Blenheim Palace is another enviable autumnal walking destination. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim’s 2,000 acres of parkland are open all year round and are free. The palace’s Great Lake, Grand Bridge, and Water Terraces all beautifully punctuate the glorious autumn colours.
Autumn is arguably the best walking season, with cooler weather and quieter trails. And with the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Blenheim Horse Trials and Moreton-in-Marsh show all occurring in the Cotswolds this autumn, you have more reasons than ever to explore this perennially fascinating corner of England.