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Tales of love from the arboretum

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couple walking in rthe forest with bluebells

Westonbirt searches for stories of romance - With 600 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, there’s no denying Westonbirt- the National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission, is a romantic setting.

This February, Westonbirt is looking for your amorous anecdotes to prove just what a perfect place the Arboretum is to spend Valentine’s Day – or any other romantic occasion.

Whether you have enjoyed a first date amongst the National Japanese Maple collection, got engaged in the Acer Glade or had the perfect wedding day in the stunning Great Oak Hall, Westonbirt wants to hear your stories.

In return, you could win Sunday lunch for two at Maples, the Arboretum’s restaurant, on February 14, creating the perfect end to your Valentines Day visit.

Submit your story of up to 200 words, by Thursday February 11, to the ‘Visiting Westonbirt’ thread on the forum at; the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum website. A special ‘Love in the Arboretum’ topic will be set up.

Louisa Lockwood, the editor of Westonbirt magazine, will judge the entries. She commented:

"I see Westonbirt as the perfect catalyst for love of all kinds. The romance of the trees in their unique setting has led many people to fall in love with the Arboretum itself - let alone other people! And who knows how many canine hearts may have melted here?"

Entries will be chosen on Friday February 12 and the winner notified by email. Terms and conditions will be available on

Westonbirt is open all year round  from 9am to 5pm. From January 2 to February 28, admission to the arboretum is 6 for adults, 5 concessions and 2 children (under 5s go free). Find out more about seasonal trails and Maples restaurant at

Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433 (Tetbury to Bath Road). It is 10 miles north east of Junction 18 of the M4, and south east of junction 13 of the M5.

1. Image caption: ‘A romantic walk through a sea of bluebells’. To be credited to FC England.

2. Westonbirt - The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. It contains nearly 16,000 specimens, including almost half of the woody plants known to grow in the world's temperate climate zone. It covers 600 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Its importance is recognised by English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest as a Grade 1 registered Landscape. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 21,000.

3. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Much of Westonbirt's renowned autumn colour is credited to Sir George's plantings of Japanese maples between 1875 and 1900, many of which are still alive today. Unlike many arboreta, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria, and the Holfords' legacy is open for all to enjoy - a beautiful, relaxing and unique day out among some of the tallest, oldest and rarest trees and shrubs in Britain.

4. Westonbirt is home to the National Japanese Maple (Acer) Collection, with over 300 different types in the collection. The Forestry Commission opened Westonbirt Arboretum to the public in 1961, and in 1966 a new Acer Glade was established, alongside the original one planted by Robert and George Holford in 1875. Today, Westonbirt is in the process of creating the world’s best collection of maples.

5. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting,
expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at

For further information, please contact Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager, Westonbirt - The National Arboretum, on 01666 881 207 or email: