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NEWS RELEASE No: 1560514 AUGUST 2012

Historic Westonbirt tree to become part of major Arnolfini exhibition

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Visitors to Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum this August Bank Holiday weekend (25-27 August 2012) will be able to watch as a 150 year old Douglas fir is dismantled and felled for use in a major autumn exhibition at Bristol’s Arnolfini gallery.

The 30 metre tall fir needs to be removed from the Forestry Commission managed tree collection due to the damaging effects of an invasive fungus. It will become part of the autumn exhibition "Matti Braun Gost Log" at Arnolfini between 6 October 2012 and 6 January 2013.

The first floor gallery at Arnolfini will be flooded and the fir cut into stepping stones for visitors to use to cross the water.

The fir was chosen following a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum by the Arnolfini team earlier this year. Using the arboretum’s list of trees identified for removal, Westonbirt’s Tree Team found the Douglas fir to be suitable for the project.

Andy Jane, Tree Team Operations Coordinator commented:

“As with all trees that have to be removed as part of the management of Westonbirt’s tree collection, this historic Douglas fir won’t be wasted.

“Westonbirt’s trees go on to become a multitude of things, from woodcraft, tables and flooring to woodchip for the arboretum’s paths, but this is the first time we have linked with a major art exhibition. We are all excited to see how the installation will look.”

Timings of the tree felling and dismantling can be found in the official Treefest programme, available to purchase at the event.

Family activities to discover the intrepid world of plant hunting, expert carvers creating big play trail pieces, over 100 exhibitors, live local music and a Food Hall filled with local and sustainable produce also make up this year’s Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum.

Advance daily admission is £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and kids go free throughout. Gate prices are £12 for adults and £10 for concessions.

The festival will run from Saturday 25 to Monday 27 August, with the daily programme from 10am to 5pm and live music taking place into the evening. More details are available from

More information about Arnolfini can be found at

Notes to editors

  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 16,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. 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. A £3.6million fundraising campaign led by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is currently underway for the Westonbirt Project. Phase One of the project aims to improve the visitor arrival and experience by building a new Welcome Building, relocating the car park and restoring the Grade I Registered landscape. Work on Phase One is planned to start in 2013, subject to funds being raised. More information can be found at

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Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, on 01666 881 207 or email: