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7 of the best autumn woodland walks in The Cotswolds


In every season, a woodland walk offers solace; shade in summer, protection from the elements in winter and in autumn, a wonderous display of nature at its best. This week we thought we’d celebrate the change in the seasons with a round-up of the best woodland walks in The Cotswolds – whether you’re looking for a foraging trip, to expand your conker collection or to see the magic as the leaves turn, here are our favourite locations this autumn:

Siccaridge Wood, near Sapperton
An ancient coppiced woodland, renowned for its carpet of bluebells in spring, come autumn it has an equally impressive display as the beech trees turn to fiery ochre. Situated in the Frome Valley, alongside the Thames and Severn Canal, you can combine your woodland walk with a towpath stroll and finish up with a restorative pub lunch at The Bell in Sapperton (read more of our favourite country pubs on the journal here).

Laurie Lee Wood
Covering three hectares of unspoilt, heritage woodland, Laurie Lee Woods in the Slad Valley is so called after the 'Cider with Rosie' author, who set his semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel in the village of Slad. The woods themselves form part of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way, a circular walk through a number of Gloucestershire Nature Reserves, making for a great autumnal spectacular. Nearby Painswick is worth a visit; steeped in Arts and Crafts history and some beautiful properties to lust after, too.


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Woodchester Park
The Boat House Walk through the National Trusts's Woodchester Park is a well signposted, 3.5 mile loop through the house's 18th century landscaped parkland, woods and along a chain of five interconnecting lakes that reflect the autumn foliage beautifully. Take in ruined Italianate temples, as well as resident wildlife including kingfishers, bats and herons. A peaceful walk for explorers of all ages.

Wychwood Forest, Chalbury
Whether you take on the full 37-mile 'Wychwood Way' circular route, or opt for a leisurely Sunday stroll, Wychwood Forest in Chalbury is a great autumn walk, with hundred of acres of woodland, streams, lakes and ponds to explore. The area is also a protected nature reserve, so keep your eyes peeled for local flora and fauna as you kick up the autumn leaves. In need of warming up? The Swan at Ascot is another great country pub for some autumn comfort grub.

Batsford Arboretum
Batsford Arboretum puts on a riotous display of colour in Autumn, thanks to the collection of Japanese maples, sorbus and ornamental cherries dotted around the 56-acre site. Visit from mid-October for the best display.


Image credit: Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace
Take in the Great Lake, Grand Bridge and Water Terraces in 2,000 acres of Capability Brown parkland at Blenheim Palace. A joy to explore with the house as your backdrop, the landscape is home to many species of trees that show their colours in all their glory through the autumn months.

Guiting Power and Castlett Wood
A great easy family route from the village of Guiting Power, this circular amble follows drovers' trails through woodland and along the Guiting Stream. The Cotswold Farm Park is nearby if you're looking to make a day of it, or squeeze in a last picnic with supplies from the Temple Guiting Pantry shop.