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More colours, less crowds this spring at Westonbirt Arboretum

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Spring at Westonbirt Arboretum credit Rob Cousins

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum may be known for its dazzling leaf colour during autumn, but this spring its team will be encouraging visitors to enjoy the wide spectrum of colours that its flowering trees and shrubs have to offer from March to May, through a range of events and trails.

Visitors will also be invited to enjoy a Westonbirt Wednesday, when the Forestry Commission offers half price admissions every Wednesday during March, April and May. Admission during these months will be cut to £4, £3.50 and £1.50 respectively on Wednesdays during the promotion (usually £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and £3 for children).

For families, Forest Discovery Day on Sunday 30 March will be a chance to celebrate Mothers’ Day with the Family Ties event, which will blow away those winter cobwebs with a special family trail and the opportunity to make a natural present or card to give to someone special.

The Awakening Woods event, from 8 – 10 April and 14 – 18 April, will be a chance to discover buds bursting, rising sap, colourful blooms and wildflower carpets. This will be followed from 27 – 29 May by Arboretum Adventures – an event with a twist that will invite visitors to be the hero in their own arboretum story as they create a springtime adventure for themselves.

There are also a range of guided walks every week from 1 March, with knowledgeable volunteer guides leading walks which explore the trees and heritage of Westonbirt Arboretum every Wednesday at 11am and every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday at 2pm. Special guided walks on subjects such as wildflowers (1 April, 6 May) and some interesting horticultural heroes (18 May) will also be on offer throughout the spring months.

Dog-lovers are also well catered for, with a range of ‘Walkies!’ guided walks taking place at 11am on 9 March, 19 March and 6 April in the dog-friendly Silk Wood area of the arboretum.

Simon Hough, recreation manager for the Forestry Commission at Westonbirt said:

“We’re delighted to be able to offer such a wide and varied programme of events for the spring months. Westonbirt is a riot of colour during this time and often less busy than during autumn. We hope visitors will enjoy getting out and experiencing the tree collection at this glorious time of year!”

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Events listings, spring 2014:

Event: Spring Trails
Date: March – May
Follow two self-guided trails around the Old Arboretum (dog free zone) and Silk Wood (dog friendly) to discover some of the stars of the show of spring. Pick up a leaflet at admissions or from the Great Oak Hall. Free after admission.

Event: Guided Walks
Date: Wednesdays at 11am, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays at 2pm from 1 March to 1 November
Join a knowledgeable volunteer guide on a walk around the arboretum. Free after admission.

Event: Wood sales
Date: 8 & 9 March, 12 & 13 April, 10 & 11 May
Pick up a piece of Westonbirt wood! A range of wood is available including sawn timber. All proceeds go to the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum charity. Saturday 10am - 3pm, Sunday 10am - 1pm.

Event: Walkies! guided walk
Date: 9 March, 19 March, 6 April
Time: 11:00
Join Dave Lucas and his dog Maisie for guided walks around Silk Wood! Meet at Skilling Gate. Free after admission.

Event: Forest Discovery Day! Family Ties family event
Date: 30 March
Blow away those winter cobwebs by taking part in our special family trail to celebrate Mothering Sunday, then make a natural present or card to give to someone special. Free after admission.

Event: Wildflower walk
Date: 1 April, 6 May
Time: 10:30 to 12:30
Discover the wealth of wild flowers that grow at Westonbirt. Free after admission.

Event: Awakening Woods family event
Date: 8 – 10 April and 14 – 18 April
Time: 10:30 to 16:00
With spring in full swing why not venture out this Easter to spring forth and discover the awakening forest – from buds bursting and rising sap, to colourful blooms and wildflower carpets. Free after admission.

Event: Capture the best of Spring photography workshop
Date: 25 April, 26 April
Time: 09:00 to 17:00
Join landscape photographer Sarah Howard for a one day workshop which will help you to improve your photography. Cost £120.

Event: Chair Making courses
Date: 28 April – 3 May, 5 – 10 May and further dates throughout the year
Join a six day green woodwork course in the heart of Silk Wood. Cost £330.

Event: Horticultural Heroes guided walk
Date: 18 May
Time: 11:00 to 13:00
Join one of our experienced volunteer guides to hear tales of the remarkable plant hunters, the trials they faced and the incredible plants they brought back to Westonbirt. Free after admission.

Event: Arboretum Adventures family event
Date: 27 – 29 May
Time: 10:30 to 16:00
A different direction from our standard trail format, come and create your own arboretum adventure.  Be the hero in your own Westonbirt story – what will you discover? Free after admission.


Images attached: Visitors enjoy spring at Westonbirt Arboretum - credit Rob Cousins, Forestry Commission

1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to five national collections, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains nearly 15,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 27,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Further information can be found at

3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity (no. 293190). More information at  

4. The Westonbirt Project will make a big difference to everybody who comes to the arboretum. The project will mean a better welcome, a better visit and a better understanding of the heritage and importance of this world class tree collection. More information can be found at


Gina Mills, Communications Manager, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, on 01666 881321 or email: