Described as ‘Worcestershire’s hidden garden’, Bodenham Arboretum, near Kidderminster is a great day out for anyone wishing to walk in delightful surroundings. The site spans 134 acres and is set in a natural bowl shaped valley with a number of lakes and pools fed by ground springs. There are over 3000 species of trees around the site and all the trees have labels which is useful if you spot something you fancy planting in your own garden!
Entrance to the arboretum is down a long winding drive and it is quite a thrill to finally arrive in the quiet spot where you will struggle to hear road traffic. The visitor centre and restaurant are beside the ‘big pool’ where geese and ducks gather in the hope of a snack! The arboretum is a haven for wildlife and is host to several varieties of migrating birds.
We visited in November, a great time to see the autumn colour and it was an afternoon well-spent looking at the huge variety of trees with such wonderful and diverse colour and leaf shapes. Some amazingly vibrant acers could be seen and the swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees beside the big pool were seemingly on fire, so bright was the foliage! Another favourite tree we found was the tulip tree (Liriodendron) with its distinctive and curious shaped leaves which had turned a vivid yellow.
The arboretum was founded in 1973 by David Binnian who started out by planting a few trees with his wife Jennifer, resulting in the creation of the arboretum as we find it today. The arboretum contains a number of collections of trees including American Oaks, Alders and Acers. Areas are named after family members and there is a working farm on site which is transformed in December into a nativity scene with real animals.
Bodenham Arboretum is open daily in the school holidays and during October and December (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). All other times – Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Dogs on leads are welcome. I would advise wearing wellies – it was very muddy in places at the time of our visit.
Finally – refreshments! The on-site restaurant has something of a local reputation for providing amazing Sunday roasts – advance booking is advised.
There really is something for all seasons at Bodenham – from emerging leaves and flowering bulbs in spring, glorious summer greenery with the sound of birdsong to golden autumn walks and of course nothing beats a frosty woodland walk in the winter.
Opening times and prices can be found here http://www.bodenhamarboretum.co.uk/visiting/opening-times/