A magnificent collection of rare and specimen trees including the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries.
In the Spring, enjoy the drifts of daffodils and narcissi followed by bluebells and wild garlic. Wonderful magnolias and cherry blossom.
Visit the Arboretum in the Summer when the trees are in leaf and discover the wild flower meadow with buttercups, foxgloves and orchids.
Spectacular Autumn colours at Batsford with colours ranging from reds and golds to browns and oranges.
Batsford on a cold winter’s day is a magical experience – and at the end of January and through February, look out for snowdrops, aconites, hellebores, cyclamen and the magnificent smelling Daphnes.
RHS members visit for free.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Batsford was owned by John Croker. It was later owned by Richard Freeman, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland who added the formal gardens including avenues, parterres and fountains.
Around 1756, the estate was inherited by Thomas Freeman who replaced the formal gardens with a landscape park.
On Freeman’s death in 1818, Batsford was left to a cousin, John Freeman-Mitford who was created Lord Redesdale in 1802. After the death of his son and successor, the estate passed to his cousin Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford. Algernon replaced the Georgian house with the neo-Tudor house designed by Ernest George and Harold Peto. [See Iford Manor]. A buddhist and keen horticulturist, Algernon created the Wild Garden, the Japanese Garden and planted numerous specimen trees. He also built the hermit’s cave, the thatched cottage and the Japanese Rest House as well as creating the artificial watercourse.
Following his death in 1916, Batsford Park was inherited by David Mitford with his son and six infamous daughters. In her book, The Pursuit of Love, Nancy modelled the character Uncle Matthew on her father.
But the First World War took its toll and in 1918, the Batsford estate was sold to Sir Gilbert Hamilton Wills. After 1939, the estate fell into disrepair until it was rescued by Frederick Anthony Hamilton Wills, the 2nd Lord Dulverton. In February 1992, Lord Dulverton died leaving the Arboretum to the Batsford Foundation, a charitable trust set up ‘to promote research and education into conservation, arboriculture, gardens and architecture.’
The rest of the park and the house are still owned by the Wills family.