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Best-selling author helps Westonbirt's search for love

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Whether your tale is of long walks amongst spring flowers, a lazy day spent picnicking on the downs, or a marriage proposal amidst a frosty winter wonderland, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, provides the perfect setting for many a starry-eyed story.

This February and March, the Forestry Commission managed National Arboretum is asking you to share your memories of romantic visits on the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum forum at

Entries will be judged by best-selling romance novelist Jilly Cooper, who is offering a signed copy of her latest novel Jump! to the writer of the winning story.

No one knows more about romantic settings than Jilly Cooper. A great fan of Westonbirt in all seasons, she commented:

“Gloucestershire has the most beautiful trees in the world. At Westonbirt you can see them gathered in all their glory at all times of the year; in colours, varieties and amazing planting that takes your breath away. 

“Children are enchanted by the arboretum, dogs frolic, grown-ups marvel and lovers find a million romantic corners to meet. So please write a wonderful story to celebrate this magical place.”

To be in with a chance of winning the signed copy of Jump! submit your story of no more than 200 words to the forum, found in the Your Westonbirt section of the website, between 3 February and 14 March. The stories will be judged and the winner announced by 28 March.

Notes to Editors

  1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is part of the Forestry Commission estate and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple (Acer) collection, the National Arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of 25,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford.  Unlike many arboreta, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Westonbirt’s website is

  2. 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. Further information 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 25,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. More information at  

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