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People and departments

Westonbirt tree team carrying out tree surgeryWestonbirt’s staff contribute a range of skills, arboricultural expertise and operational experience to ensure the effective maintenance and running of The National Arboretum.

In addition, we provide educational activities to over 12,500 school pupils and work with adults and diverse groups. We hope to be able to extend our education programme with new facilities and opportunities created through the planned Westonbirt Project.

Westonbirt Curator,  Simon ToomerArboretum Director, Simon Toomer

Simon Toomer was appointed as the Director in August 2009. In this exciting and challenging role, he is responsible for the management and future development of one of the finest tree collections in the world.

Simon knows Westonbirt well. For 10 years prior to becoming director, he has worked as part of the tree team and in the position of Curator.

Simon originally trained in environmental biology and forestry and previously worked as a practical forester, woodlands advisor and arboriculturalist. His particular interests lie in conservation and management of native woodland and the use of ornamental trees in garden landscapes.


To speak to any of the staff below, call 0300 067 4890.

Tree Team
Westonbirt has a dedicated Tree Team that undertakes the essential role of managing the tree collection. The team consists of a dedicated database manager who maintains our mapping system and tree records, specialist arboriculturalists and a plant propagator.

The Tree Team works with a number of partners, including the Kew Gardens and the Millennium Seed Bank, participating in collecting expeditions around the world. Many of the seeds collected are propagated on site at Westonbirt and added to the collection 

Department manager: Mark Ballard, Curator

Events and recreation

The Westonbirt Events team manages all our signature events, concerts and exhibitions onsite. Working with central Forestry Commission departments, such as the Live Music, Unique Locations concerts programme and other external partners, they deliver safe and successful events which continue to attract new and existing visitors to Westonbirt.

Responsible for admissions and the day to day services and amenities on offer to our visitors, the vital backstage work carried out by the Visitor Service team makes sure all our facilities are clean and functional. The team also assists visitors with the use and hire of onsite mobility scooters.

Department Manager: Simon Hough, Recreation Manager

Education and Interpretation

Our Education team provides onsite activities to 12,500 school pupils each year and our teachers and support officers work with many others through our outreach programme.

The team is responsible for making sure all our visitors receive the information they need to and learn about our collection. Creating children’s trails right through to seasonal walks around the arboretum; the effective interpretation of the site is vital for communicating the importance of trees and woodlands for conservation, health and wellbeing and in adapting to climate change.

Department manager: Ben Oliver, Learning and Participation Manager

Marketing and Communications

Planning what we want to say and how we want to say it, this department contains the press office, manages the website updates and produces the leaflets and marketing material to communicate our events and national collection to the public.

Department manager: Emily Pryor, Communications Manager

Finance and Administration

Responsible for all departmental budgets and administration, the team maintains all the required statutory accounting records and provides management accounts and financial information to the Forestry Commission.

Department manager: Office Manager