Autumn is one of the most charming times of year in the Cotswolds with its backdrop of crisp leaves, vibrant colour and misty mornings. Here, we share some of the best Cotswolds walks to enjoy this season before returning to us for a well-earned drink in front of the fire…
There’s no better time for an amble through Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh than when its magnificent maples, cherries, Sorbus and Euonymus are ablaze with rich autumnal colour and the sweet caramel scent from the Katsura tree hangs in the air. Within this 56-acre arboretum and botanical garden in the Cotswolds are over 2,500 tree species from around the world and 17 miles of trails, and it’s just a 20-minute drive from The Chequers. For a longer excursion, you can reach the arboretum by walking along the picturesque Monarch’s Way footpath from Moreton-in-Marsh, which should take around 35 minutes.
Dust off the cobwebs with this lovely seven-mile circular Cotswolds walk through Ascott-under-Wychwood and Chadlington, finishing with a hearty lunch at The Swan. The route, that links in with the 37-mile Wychwood Way around the ancient Wychwood Forest, runs via Pudlicote and Chilson and has some stiles. You can find a map and directions here and discover more walks along the Wychwood Way here.
The vast Capability Brown-designed parkland surrounding Blenheim Palace in Woodstock looks especially handsome in Autumn and there are several walks to enjoy at this time of year, most of which are accessible for wheelchairs, buggies and dogs. We enjoy the short half-hour stroll around the lake, there are also two 1.5-mile walks around the Formal Gardens and the Queen Pool and, if you want to stretch your legs, the 4.6-mile walk around the perimeter of the park allows you to enjoy the views of the Palace from all angles. A map is available here . Blenheim Park is just a 25-minute drive from The Swan and The Chequers .
This popular two-mile walk between the beautiful Cotswolds villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter is especially joyful in Autumn when the crowds have eased. The route follows the Warden’s Way along the River Eye past pretty cottages, old watermills and stone footbridges. Then it’s just over a 20-minute drive back to The Swan or The Chequers for lunch. If you’re feeling energetic, at Lower Slaughter you can join the Gloucestershire Way to continue on to Stow on the Wold (around 3 miles), or the Heart of England Way to Bourton on the Water (just over a mile).
Described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England”, Bibury’s mossy-topped honey stone cottages look especially beautiful against a backdrop of amber and crimson foliage. Starting in nearby Coln St Aldwyns (half an hour drive from The Swan , this six-mile circular walk takes you through the heart of Bibury up some gentle hills, past old mills and along a stretch of the pretty River Coln. Find a map and directions here.