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This autumn learn, see and play amongst a riot of colour at Westonbirt

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Autumn at Westonbirt

As the break-taking seasonal hues develop there is something for everyone to enjoy at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire.

A schedule of varied events has been planned for October and November to encourage visitors to make the most of the internationally-renowned tree and shrub collection as it shines in all its seasonal glory.

Families can participate in a series of workshops run in conjunction with the RSPB, from making bird feeders for home gardens in ‘Bird Feeder Fun’ to learning about those not so scary bugs in time for Halloween in ‘Spooky Creatures.’

For families with a four-legged friend, don’t leave the dog at home, Westonbirt will also host a series of ‘Walkies!’ events through Silk Wood, led by Westonbirt’s Guide Dave and his pooch, Maisie.

A series of exhibitions will be held in the Great Oak Hall from the 7 October catering for art lovers. The events will showcase the works of Creative Coterie, the Eeles, a pottering family from Dorset, Gill Ashley, the ‘Cotswold Edge’ artists and West Country group, Work-in-Glass.

The gold, yellow and orange hues couldn’t provide a better vista for budding photographers to test their skills and the arboretum has a series of photography workshops on offer to cater for all abilities with several dates available in October and November.

Simon Hough, recreation manager at Westonbirt, said:

“Autumn is a magical time of year at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, where dazzling displays of colour make a beautiful backdrop for a walk or any one of the varied line-up of activities we have planned over the next few months.

“Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill, entertain the family, take the dog for a walk or just enjoy the beauty of the collection, Westonbirt has something for you.”

For those just wishing to appreciate the incredible autumnal view why not take to a new height, group hot air balloon flights are scheduled until October and private flights can be organised on practically any day of the week throughout the year, weather dependent.

If that’s not enough visitors can also kick-start a new hobby before the New Year sets in and participate in a six day chair making course in the heart of Silk Wood or learn more about the autumn season with guided walks focussing on autumn fruits and berries and the varied colours and textures of tree bark.

A full list of events with dates, times and costs where applicable can be found at


For more information please contact:
Emily Pryor, Westonbirt Arboretum on 01666 881207 or email
Dani Andres, Spirit Public Relations on 0117 944 1415 or email

Notes to Editors

The National Arboretum is situated at Westonbirt, three miles from Tetbury in Gloucestershire

The National Arboretum is open from 9am Monday to Sunday all year round except Christmas Day

Information on admission and events can be found at

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 27,000. 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

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 over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity (no. 293190). More information at  

4. The Westonbirt Project will make a big difference to everybody who comes to the arboretum. The project will mean a better welcome, a better visit and a better understanding of the heritage and importance of this world class tree collection. More information can be found at

Full list of events:
Beginner’s digital photography
6, 13, 20 Oct
This is a day workshop spent at this fabulous location developing your skills both in camera technique and understanding of digital technology. Aimed primarily at the beginner or those who have a digital camera but lack the confidence/knowledge to move away from the Auto Mode setting. We will take you through the various settings, consider how and when best to use them, look for at ways of improving our opportunities for capturing better images and generally improving your skills and understanding. Following the shoot on location we will return to look at images, assess them and discuss ways of improving. We will also consider ways of managing those images on your computers and image manipulation.
Time: 10:30am – 3:30pm
Cost: £65
Chair making courses

15-20 Sep
6-11 Oct
13-18 Oct
Paul Hayden, Pete Murray (aka the Artful Bodger) and Ralph Kingscott have been running their six day Chair Making course in the heart of Silk Wood at Westonbirt Arboretum since 2002. In that time it has grown into the most popular course of its type in the UK. Participants make an elegant Windsor chair using a pole lathe and hand tools. The seat is carved from a single board of home grown timber using an adze and other traditional hand tools. The curved elements of the chair are steam bent before the chair is assembled. Booking is required for this event.
Cost: £330

Hot air balloon flights
11, 26 Oct
What better way to see the arboretum and the surrounding countryside than taking a hot air balloon flight from Westonbirt Arboretum’s Downs? Flights are scheduled until October. Or, if you want the peace and tranquillity of the balloon basket all to yourself (plus the pilot of course), two or three person flights can be taken on practically any day of the week at any time of year, weather dependent. Booking is required for this event.

RSPB Information event
5 Nov
The RSPB are at the Bird Viewing Area to talk with you about how to enjoy the wildlife and birds in your garden, local park and at Westonbirt!
Time: 10am-4pm
Cost: Free after admission

Tree Felling Course
20-21 Sep
This course is Part 1 in a series of Weekend Woodsman sessions. Adrian Leaman will lead this exciting, two day weekend course in the heart of Silk Wood. Using hand tools, you will experience the art of woodsmanship and work as a team. It’s a humbling experience felling a mature tree by hand with axes and two-man felling saws. This is the largest living organism that you will ever harvest and it’s good to ‘feel’ the effort that this really requires. Each Weekend Woodsman session will explore a different skill or craft in the art of woodsmanship. No previous experience is necessary. Booking is required for this event.
Cost: £175

11, 22 Oct
2, 22 Nov
6, 17 Dec
Join our experienced volunteer Dave Lucas and his dog Maisie for guided walks around Silk Wood! Bring your dog and enjoy a morning stroll here at Westonbirt. Meet at the back of the Welcome Building. Free after admission.
Time: 11am

Exhibition: Creative Coterie shows it’s colours
7-12 Oct
Creative Coterie, a talented group of local artists, return to Westonbirt Arboretum showcasing their work, an eclectic mix of styles and media. Great Oak Hall public event.
Time: 10am-4pm

Exhibition: Living Landscapes
14-19 Oct
A return visit by the Eeles family of potters from Dorset and local artist Gill Ashley. David, Patricia, Benjamin and Simon Eeles bring beautiful ceramics by including wood fired stoneware, porcelain and raku whilst Gill will be displaying some new works particularly inspired by autumn at Westonbirt and the surrounding landscape in both watercolour and acrylics. Great Oak Hall public event.
Time: 10am-4pm

Exhibition: Inspired by Nature
20-26 October
Stunning new textiles, paintings, stained glass and wood sculptures by the accomplished ‘Cotswold Edge’ group of artists: Liz Brooke Ward, Clarissa Lloyd, David Laycock and Grahame Tucker. Great Oak Hall public event.
Time: 20th – 12pm-4pm
21st-26th 10am-4pm

Exhibition: Work in Glass in the Woods
22 Oct-2 Nov
A return visit by Work-in-Glass, a group of West Country artists who come together to inspire, create and exhibit beautiful glass art. A wide variety of glass based work including stained and fused glass panels, glass bowls, lamps and mixed media pieces. Great Oak Hall public event.
Time: 10am-4pm

Advanced digital photography
17 Oct
14 Nov
These workshops are designed for those who feel fairly confident with the main controls of their digital cameras but want to increase their understanding of things such as depth of field, aperture and shutter speed relationships, file formats, image management and manipulation (a limited amount of time will be spent on this), better composition and exposure control, white balance and more.
Cost: £120

Autumn art attack
27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Oct
The arboretum is a work of art so let it spark your creativity. Find inspiration in our famous colourful collection.
Time: 10:30am-4pm
Cost: Free after admission

Autumn fruits & berries
4, 11 October
Come and join one of our volunteer guides and discover the reasons behind the many shapes and sizes of seed packages and see Westonbirt’s wonderful autumn colour. Free after admission.
Time: 4th 11am-12:30pm
11th 2:30pm-4:30pm

Looking to improve your photography?
21, 25, 26 Oct
1, 2 Nov
Learn how to capture Westonbirt at its best with Image Seen this Autumn. Improve your photographic skills and gain confidence with your camera. These one day, small group workshops are practical based, with expert help and guidance along the way. All abilities are welcome, booking is required for this event.
Cost: £120

Spooky Creatures!
18, 19 Oct
Get over your fear of scary creatures with the RSPB for Halloween! Find out about the more scary species of our wildlife like snakes, lizards, spiders, newts, frogs and toads! Fun and games to be had at the Bird Viewing Area! Free after admission.
Time: 10am-4pm

Barking up the right tree
16 Nov
Discover the wonderfully varied colours and textures of tree bark, and find out about some of the uses to which this remarkable substance is put on a guided walk with one of our knowledgeable volunteers. Free after admission.
Time: 11am-1pm

Enchanted Christmas
28, 29, 30 Nov
5, 6, 7 & 12, 13, 14 & 19, 20, 21 Dec
Westonbirt Arboretum's Enchanted Christmas features a spectacular one mile illuminated trail, highlighting the striking structures of Westonbirt’s trees as they are illuminated against the winter night sky. Each year a new lighting design is created so visitors can experience different specimens, paths and vistas in the tree collection. Food, drink, entertainment and activities are on offer to get you into the festive spirit. Meet Father Christmas, or join us for 'The big switch on!' on the opening night, there are things for all the family to enjoy.
Time: 5pm-8:30pm

Winter wildlife
15, 16 Nov
Learn about our Winter wildlife with the RSPB and how to help give nature a home over the cold Winter months when some wildlife counts on us the most! Free after admission.
Time: 10am-4pm