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Local schools invited to apply for enchanting wood sculptures

19 June 2013

This summer, three magical wood carvings will be created around the theme of fairytales at Treefest; the signature summer event at the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt.

Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum 2012 It is a Treefest tradition to find a new home for sculptures created during the event. This year Westonbirt Arboretum would like to offer local schools the chance to own one of the finished carvings.

The sculptures aim to inspire storytelling by including a seated area within the carving.

The three designs include ‘The Storybook’ by Steve Griffin, which features 12 nursery rhyme books carved into the shape of an armchair; ‘Bo Peep’ by Raymond Wirick, which features Bo Peep with her sheep acting as a reading bench and ‘The Owl and the Pussycat,’ by David Lucas, which features the characters in their boat on top of the moon. The moon will be hollowed out to provide a reading seat.

The carvers will be supplied with Westonbirt wood to create the sculptures, measuring between one and a half and two and a half metres high. The wood will have been removed from the tree collection as part of the arboretum’s routine management process.

Schools interested in owning one of the sculptures need to express their interest by 8 July 2013 and the sculptures will be allocated ahead of Treefest which takes place 24 to 26 August 2013.

Simon Hough, the Forestry Commission’s Recreation Manager at Westonbirt Arboretum, said:
“Trees and woodlands have always inspired imaginations, which is why this year we wanted our carvers to create sculptures that could be the centre of great storytelling.

“Inviting schools to keep the fairytale themed sculptures is an exciting way of sharing Westonbirt’s magic with children across the region. Fairytales play such a pivotal role in a child’s upbringing we thought it was only right to donate them to local children to enjoy during story time.”

Under the canopy of Westonbirt Arboretum’s stunning trees, families can enjoy all the wonders of woodlands during this summer’s Treefest. A raft of exciting activities to celebrate nature, trees, woodcraft and family fun will take place across the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Free for kids, the festival will celebrate woodworking, with opportunities for families to try crafts and watch as traditional wood carvers create enchanting fairytale-inspired sculptures.

Alongside over 100 craft exhibitors and a Food Hall filled with delicious produce, woodworking will be further celebrated with a larger Working Woodlands exhibitor area.

Families can follow a trail around the festival to enjoy storytellers and puppet theatre, watch falconry and – new to this year’s event – see axe carving and racing from The Welsh Axemen.

The festival also includes an entertaining programme of live music from local bands who will perform until 8pm on Saturday and Sunday and 5pm on Monday.

Advance adult (£10) and concession (£8) tickets save up to 20 per cent on gate prices. Fantastic value weekend tickets are just £24 per person. Members of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and children go free and great group rates are also available.

Expressions of interest for the school sculptures should be sent to by 8 July 2013.

More information on Treefest can be found at

Last updated: 28th August 2017

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