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NEWS RELEASE No: 1592323 APRIL 2013

Free fun for kids this summer at Westonbirt Arboretum

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Children walking on a fallen trunk

This summer, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt is helping families to enjoy trees and nature with a kids go free offer and six weeks of fun, trails and crafts.

Westonbirt Arboretum is offering free admission for children from 20 July–1 September 2013.

Families can also take part in a programme of exciting activities, finishing with the ultimate celebration of trees at Westonbirt’s summer Bank Holiday event, Treefest (24-26 August).

Look closely during Forest Folk (30 July – 1 August) and you’ll discover the arboretum is full of mysterious characters. Children can use the arboretum for inspiration and then use natural materials to create their own woodland goblins.

Did you know that over a quarter of all medicines have plant origins? Join Tree Potions, 6 – 8 August, to discover tree treatments for cancer, bird flu, sunburn and memory loss and have a go at making your own astronaut cream.

Go back in time with Trees for Time Travellers, 13 – 15 August, to travel back to when all our trees were young. Discover how Westonbirt was first created and find out about the daring plant hunters and their passion for plants. Then explore the future and meet some of our rising tree stars.

Leading up to and becoming part of Treefest, 24–26 August, find out how trees make the world go round with Wooden Wonders, 23-26 August. Forget oil, concrete and steel - discover how wood contributes to our daily lives and make your own wood products.

There is also a free play trail map available from the Great Oak Hall information point to discover the arboretum’s fantastic play pieces; from giant tree roots and tree forts to walking the length of one of the tallest trees in the arboretum.

Find out more about summer activities at

Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433. It is 10 miles north-east of junction 18 of the M4 and south-east of junction 13 of the M5.


Images attached: Children enjoying the Tall Tree Trail in Westonbirt Arboretum’s Silk Wood. 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 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. 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

5. Tree medicines with plant origins include:

• Taxol taken from the yew tree is used in some cancer treatments:

• Shikimic acid from Star Anise is used as a base material in the production of Tamiflu:

• Sea buckthorn was used to create cream for cosmonauts to protect from sun radiation:

• Ginkgo is an ingredient for treatments for memory loss:


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