IT’S the time of year where mushrooms erupt from the earth and the breakdown of chemical compounds in leaves puts on one of nature’s most spectacular displays.

One of the best places in Oxfordshire to see these fiery autumn shows is Harcourt Arboretum, with over 130 acres for you to explore.

Harcourt Arboretum has been part of Oxford Botanic Garden since 1963 and occupies a unique site, with acidic soil that is relatively rare to Oxfordshire. This soil enables us to care for some of the largest North American conifers in the UK, including the incredible giant redwoods.

Our conservation work has expanded over the decades, focussing on both native and non-native species. The Arboretum boasts a 50-acre wildflower meadow rich with native UK wildflowers including pyramidal orchids and ragged robin as well as endangered trees from around the world including the Franklin tree, the Wollemi pine and the Chichibu birch.

Today (Saturday, October 15), there’s even more for the whole family to enjoy you with our annual Autumn Fair. From 10am-4pm, the arboretum will be filled with delicious food from local providers, including Lula’s Ethiopian Cuisine, Damascus Rose Kitchen, and Iraqi Women Art and War.

Oxford Mail: Job name: arboretum flowering.PictureSales Ref: OX72145. Colourful shrubs and flowers beginning to show amid mild winter at Harcourt Aboretum. Luke Rowland (07849186798).pictured with the beautifully flowereing  Chinese Witch Hazel.."Its quite nice

We are keeping it local for the drinks as well with Hitchcox Cider, Church Hanbrewery and our own Oxford Physic Gin available for visitors to try.

Live music proved so popular at our 400th anniversary celebrations in the summer, that we’re delighted to welcome back a collection of local Oxfordshire musicians to perform at the Arboretum

 Horns of Plenty, Oxford’s community street band, will be parading around the site with their lively mix of jazz, afrobeat, soul and reggae music. You can hear the powerful voice of Sara Silveria, the acoustic calm of Luke McCarthy and headlining is Tiece, a UK based singer, producer and songwriter, bringing you neo-soulful, electric blues with a hip-hop tinge.

Oxford Mail: Harcourt Arboretum: Clockwise from top, crafty autumn fun, insight into tree surgery, close to nature, and Dr Lauren Baker

Harcourt Arboretum's Dr Lauren Baker

The Autumn Fair will appeal to all ages. Fancy getting hands on? You can have a close encounter with live farm animals, or try your hand at willow weaving. Take part in treasure hunts and collage workshops; admire insect collections from the Museum of Natural History; enjoy a tree-climbing demo from our Arboretum team; or find out how our delicious Harcourt Honey is made.

And there’s no better way to discover more about our incredible site and collections by taking part in one of free tours with our volunteer guides. I’ve been lucky enough to work across both the garden and the arboretum for just over two years, and I am still learning something new every week.

Harcourt Arboretum is at a particularly exciting point in its history having recently received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop a new visitor and learning centre. This project aims to unlock the arboretum’s unrivalled heritage, landscape and collection of threatened trees, while working in partnership with local communities.

Oxford Mail: Photographer Richard Cave.CATCHLINE : Autumn Arboretum Adventure.LENGTH : Standalone.DATE : 09/08.BOOKED BY: Annabal Bagdi 07867645464.CONTACT : Tegan Bennett 01865 343 501.LOCATION : Harcourt Arboretum, Nuneham Courtenay OX44 9PX.Caption: Harcourt

It will transform the site improving access, engagement and the overall audience experience with all-weather education and community facilities and, in so doing, will provide a gateway to nature that can only increase the enjoyment and wellbeing of all who visit this unique outdoor space in the heart of Oxfordshire.

  • Full event information for the Autumn Fair can be found on the arboretum's website at
  • Booking is not essential but is recommended as entry may be limited to pre-booked tickets only if site capacity is reached.
  • Car parking is free but limited. Save £2 on entry and travel by public transport. Simply produce a valid bus ticket on arrival and pay on the door. Oxford Bus Company run regular buses between Oxford and Nuneham Courtenay with a stop opposite the Arboretum on the X39 and X40 services.