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England's Woods & Forests
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Our mission and people

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is cared for by the Forestry Commission and supported by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

Holford Ride. Westonbirt Arboretum Gloucestershire The arboretum’s mission is:

‘To connect people with trees to improve the quality of life'.

We achieve our mission through the following objectives:

  • To maintain, develop and document the arboretum and its tree collection as a world-class resource for science and learning.
  • To provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn about trees, their cultivation and importance in our lives.
  • To maintain and develop the arboretum as a place for healthy, enjoyable and rewarding recreation.
  • To conserve the arboretum’s distinctive historical landscape and heritage.
  • To encourage a wide and diverse community of individuals and organisations to participate in our work.

Underlying all our work in meeting our objectives are our Principles of Inclusivity and Sustainability.

Westonbirt Arboretum’s popularity comes from its success at meeting a broad range of objectives and appealing to a wide range of users. It is a vibrant and living museum of trees and shrubs in a designed landscape, an historical garden, and a place for healthy and inspiring recreation.

It appeals to scientists and academics as much as to those with a casual or budding interest in trees. However, juggling these objectives to find the right balance and prevent any one becoming over-dominant at the expense of others is a difficult task.

In order to pay for the maintenance of the tree collection and landscape – a huge and never-ending job – income must be generated through entrance charges, events, shops and other commercial activity. This must never be allowed to compromise the arboretum objectives and, when carried out sensitively, these activities can enhance the visitor’s experience.

Since 1956 the Forestry Commission has provided management stability and financial support for the arboretum. In more recent times, the Forestry Commission has been supported by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum whose membership has risen steadily to over 28,000 – a massive demonstration of support for the arboretum and an asset for its future.

Find out more about Westonbirt's people and departments.

Forestry Commission links:

Forestry policy

Trees and climate change

Access to information 

Other links:

Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Project

Last updated: 10th July 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.