Colesbourne Park Arboretum.
Deep in the heart of the Churn Valley in the Cotwolds is a hidden gem, Colesbourne Park Arboretum.
Colesbourne Park Arboretum is known as “England’s greatest Snowdrop Garden” and is most famous for its collection of over 300 different varieties of snowdrops. Many originated from the plantings of Henry John Elwes on his plant expeditions to Turkey including Galanthus elwesii in 1874, which is named after him.
However, it wasn’t just snowdrops that H J Elwes brought back with him from his travels. Over 100 different species of trees also found their way to Gloucestershire; eight of which are now the largest of their kind in the British Isles.
I first visited a few years ago and thought it a great shame that, as wonderful as they are, the Park was only open during the late winter months for the snowdrops as I could imagine the Autumn here being quite spectacular. I recently checked the website for the openings for 2016 only to discover that this year the grounds have been occasionally opened during the summer months too and I was just in time for the last visiting day for 2015. Sadly, the full effects of the Autumn leaves hadn’t quite reached their peak and the lack of sun and blue skies didn’t help them zing either, but the views certainly didn’t disappoint.
A lake was created when the Hilcot Brook was dammed to provide hydroelectric power to the main house. The lake is a gorgeous blue colour, sadly not seen much in the images below, caused by suspended colloidal clay particles in the water.
Needless to say being Autumn there were plenty of leaves and berries about.
Much of the collection consists of deciduous trees.
A few areas were under-planted with cyclamen.
And then there were to coniferous trees, providing a great contrast in both leaf structure, shape and colour.
Including the beautiful soft almost rubber green leaves of the Metasequoia glyptostroboides, below, contrasting against the Autumnal leaves of the beech tree behind it.
Alongside the main house is the long formal border providing a final splash of colour at the end of the season.
Set within the grounds is St James’ Church which dates back to 1050.
Colesbourne Park Arboretum is halfway between Cirencester and Cheltenham and is next open on 30th January 2016 for 5 consecutive weekends and is well worth a visit.
All images taken on 11th October 2015