10 spots to see stunning autumn colour in Gloucestershire

Embrace the new season with SoGlos's round up of 10 places to see dazzling displays of autumn colour in Gloucestershire.

From blazes of burnished reds to carpets of golden yellows, there’s nothing like the sight of the autumn leaves changing colour to celebrate the arrival of the new season.

Whether you’re planning a family day out in the fresh air or a romantic stroll, soak up nature’s fireworks display this season – with SoGlos’s handpicked spots to see stunning autumn colour across Gloucestershire in 2021.

About the sponsor – Westonbirt Arboretum

Gloucestershire’s magical tree garden, Westonbirt Arboretum, is home to more than 15,000 specimens of trees across 200 acres – with thousands of native and exotic species bursting into colour this autumn.

From vibrant orange leaves to glossy red berries, visitors can admire stunning autumn colour from mid-September to November. There’s even a dedicated seasonal hotline, updated weekly to help visitors locate the best displays when exploring the arboretum.

For more information about Westonbirt Arboretum, visit forestryengland.uk/westonbirt or call the autumn hotline on 0300 0675691.

1. Autumn colour at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt, the National Arboretum near Tetbury, is at its most spectacular during the autumn months, attracting visitors from across the UK – and even around the globe – with its world-class collection of trees and plants.

Seasonal highlights include Maple Loop in Silk Wood, where autumn enthusiasts can see the arboretum’s collection of Japanese maples ablaze with colour; and the heart-shaped leaves of the Katsura tree, which smell just like toffee apples (yes, really!). Leaf-peepers heading to Westonbirt Arboretum will need to book tickets before visiting.

2. Autumn colour in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

The Forest of Dean is a delight for outdoorsy types all year-round but especially during the autumn months, when visitors can admire the changing colours of the ancient woodlands.

Set off from Beechenhurst for a crisp walk through bountiful woodlands; head to Symonds Yat for spectacular views across the River Wye and miles beyond; take to the bike trails; enjoy a different vantage point from a canoe; and if you’re feeling particularly fit, climb up to the Blaize Bailey viewpoint for some truly spectacular autumnal scenes.

3. Autumn colour at Batsford Arboretum

With one of the largest private tree and plant collections in the country, Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh offers a stunning spot to soak up autumnal colour while enjoying a stroll around the 56-acre setting.

From the start of October to the end of November, visitors can expect to see maple and cherry trees in every hue imaginable, while the multi-coloured leaves of the liquidambar tree are truly spectacular. Anyone hoping to visit this autumn will need to book tickets online in advance.

4. Autumn colour at Painswick Rococo Gardens

While Painswick Rococo Gardens is most famed for its blankets of springtime snowdrops, it’s also a beautiful place to visit in October when its leaves are transformed into warm shades of gold and red.

The picturesque six-acre garden, which dates back to the 18th century, encompasses follies, water features and impressive planting, too – with its maple trees and cyclamen at their most impressive at the start of autumn.

5. Autumn colour at Pittville Park

With huge horse chestnut trees for conker-hunters, as well as acers and ancient yew trees, Pittville Park is a prime place to head for autumn colour in Cheltenham – with ginkgos, paperbark maples, and impressive red oaks all providing the most colourful scenes.

And when the vibrant displays are all over and the park is carpeted with leaves, more autumnal fun can be had kicking the crisp leaves around before heading to one of its two cafes to warm up with a hot chocolate!

6. Autumn colour at Hidcote Manor

Discover shades of autumn at Hidcote Manor Gardens near Chipping Campden, where visitors can admire eye-catching acers and stroll through an allée of beech trees displaying brilliant bronze and golden hues.

Designed by American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, the garden’s immaculate red borders are at their colourful peak, sporting displays of vibrant dahlias to complement the autumnal hues.

7. Autumn colour at Laurie Lee Wood and Frith Wood

Immortalised in the classic Cider with Rosie, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Laurie Lee Wood nature reserve in the Slad Valley is a great spot to immerse yourself in the changing season, with three hectares of ancient woodland to explore.

Frith Wood, meanwhile, next to Bull’s Cross and on the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way, is a particularly lovely beech wood that straddles the ridge between the Painswick and Slad Valleys.

8. Autumn colour at Sezincote Garden

Catch stunning colours while admiring the unique setting of Sezincote, a splendid 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace near Moreton-in-Marsh, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and trees.

Come autumn, Sezincote’s evocative paradise garden basks in seasonal colour, glowing with golden oranges and dazzling reds; while its ornate bridges and Indian-inspired ornaments are also a must-see.

9. Autumn colour at Highgrove Gardens

A visit to the gardens of Highgrove House, the family residence of the Prince of Wales, offers the chance to delight in autumn colour, with creative planting and a swathe of trees to see in the arboretum – which has an abundance of Japanese maples at their colourful best in October.

Autumn visitors to the historic Tetbury attraction can also take in the impressive kitchen garden, with the apple tunnel particularly fragrant at this time of year. Individual garden tours must be booked online in advance.

10. Autumn colour at Colesbourne Gardens

In addition to its stunning displays of snowdrops every spring, Colesbourne Gardens also opens up the doors to its arboretum for a few days every autumn, for a rare chance to see the arboretum’s champion trees and explore its 40 acres.

Don’t miss the guided tours happening on Saturday 2, Sunday 3, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October 2021 to witness its exclusive display of autumn colour this year.

For more information about Westonbirt Arboretum, visit forestryengland.uk/westonbirt.

By Annabel Lammas

© SoGlos
Wednesday 29 September 2021

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