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NEWS RELEASE No: 1659830 JUNE 2016

Summer fun for free at Westonbirt!

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Toddler playing at Westonbirt

Free admission for kids from 22 July – 31 August

The Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt is hosting a whole new summer event series for 2016 to keep all ages entertained throughout the holidays.

From July to the end of August five week long family events take hold, all focusing on the amazing life of exotic plant hunters past and present.
Alongside the craft events, kids can embark on their own plant hunter expedition on the summer family trail through the Westonbirt wilderness, trialling a series of skilled challenges as they go to achieve the esteemed Plant Hunter title!

The first in the superb summer line-up is Stir Crazy Collectors from 25th to 29th July. Kids can enjoy crafts and activities inspired by Plant Hunter David Douglas, including making Gall ink and Douglas fir fat feeders, named after the very man himself!

From 1st to 5th August Storm in a Teacup takes centre stage, focusing on plant hunter Robert Fortune who made his name taking tea plants from China for the British to grow in India. Children can make their own plant hunter sketch books and create prints of the varnish tree which Robert collected.
Kids can create their own botanical painting masterpiece or make a wingnut seed catkin at the Plant Painter event from 8th to 12th August, all inspired by world renowned plant painter Marianne North.

In special remembrance of Gloucestershire’s own plant hunter Ernest Wilson, our Chipping Camden to China event gets children to have a go at nature printing, an essential skill for any plant hunter! They can also make their own handkerchief tree, of which Ernest Wilson collected from China and brought back to Britain himself in 1902.

The final instalment is History in the Making from 22nd to 26th August, where things take a more modern turn. Kids can hear about the role of plant hunters in the present day including how they collect herbarium samples and have a go at making conifer paint brushes.

Caroline Bennett, Learning Officer at Westonbirt Arboretum commented:

“This summer Westonbirt is transformed into a plant hunter’s paradise! It’s a fantastic opportunity for families to learn just how much the Victorian plant hunters had to overcome to bring these amazing exotic trees back to Britain for us all to enjoy!

"We’ve got a fantastic family trail running throughout the summer holidays and our five fantastic summer events start from 25th July!”

Family events are included in the cost of admission.

Children aged 18 and under receive free entry from 22 July – 31 August.

Images attached:

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 nearly 15,000 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
England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.

3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985 by a small group of volunteers. Today it raises money to help protect and preserve the arboretum, enhance public enjoyment and knowledge of this world renowned tree collection and secure its sustainable future. The charity raises funds through a membership scheme with over 27,000 Friends, fundraising activities and the hire of the Great Oak Hall.  The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity (no. 293190). More information at  

Emily Beaumont-Pryor, Communications Manager, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, on 0300 067 4851 or email: