The walk to Batsford Park is not your typical hike along public paths through turnstiles and sheep fields. However, if you travel by bus to the location like I did, when you add in the walk up the driveway and back, you will have put in a good walk for the day. Even if you drive to Batsford you can easily enjoy a full day of walking exploring the 56 acres of Batsford Arboretum and then touring the Costwold Falconry Centre.
Batsford Park was started in the early part of the 17th Century. The estate included a large house that was remodeled and expanded over the next two centuries. The gardens were originally designed in the more formal style of the times. They have evolved over the years to a more natural park-like setting.
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford was responsible for much of the landscaping that exists at Batsford today. He was the grandfather of the infamous Mitford sisters who lived at Batsford Park during World War I. You can read about the Mitford family in “The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family”.
In the 1900s Gilbert Alan Hamilton Wills (the 1st Lord Dulverton) worked with Head Forester Ken Hope to restore the neglected gardens into the Batsford Arboretum that can be toured today.
Allow plenty of time to walk along the many trails that wind through the 56 acres. A wide variety of trees and plantings give you a glimpse of something new around every corner.
As walks in the Cotswolds go, this an easy day of walking although you can cover several miles. Entrance in and out of the gardens is allowed with a hand stamp. There is a large cafeteria with a tasty selection of food so you can take a break and then return to see more of the gardens. There is also a gift shop and a small nursery.
Next to Batsford Arboretum is the Cotswold Falconry Centre. It was started in 1988 and is home to 150 Birds of Prey. Many are on display in cages around the property.
There are several staged free flying demonstrations each day. I was most impressed by the knowledge of the young man conducting the demonstration. He had an obvious love of and respect for the birds.
After a full day of walking the gardens and viewing the birds you will have gotten in a good days walk in the Cotswolds. If you did not drive to Batsford it is time for the long walk back to the main road to catch the return bus.
If you are starting from Chipping Campden you can get either the 21 or 22 bus. You can check with Johnson Coaches for busses from other destinations that will connect to the 21 or 22 bus in Moreton-in-Marsh. Just ask your driver to drop you at Batsford Arboretum.
For more information about touring the Cotswolds I recommend: