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Your comments on Forestry Commission - Westonbirt, The National Arboretum - visitor information, events and tree collection information

5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a wonderful day at Westonbirt. Fantastic walks past the stunning spring flowering Rhododendrons, absolutely breathtaking colours. So many beautiful trees & plants to admire. Brilliant Bluebells, dramatic Acer's & incredible Rhododendrons, what's not to love. Lots to keep children happy and very dog friendly. We will definitely come again,thank you.

Lynn Mander, 14/Apr/2017

Thanks for your lovely review! We're so happy you enjoyed your visit to us and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Thank you to Liz and Marcus who showed us the highlights of the Old Arboretum today - a very informative and enjoyable visit. The treetop walk, accessible to buggies and mobility scooters, is even better than the one in Kew gardens!

M D V, 12/Apr/2017
4 Stars 4 Stars

I haven't been there but my daughter went on school trip and she enjoyed it and I would like to take her there again but I have a question, can we have barbeque there? Thanks

Shams, 12/Apr/2017

Thanks for sending us your feedback, and we are so glad that your daughter enjoyed her school trip here. We do not allow barbeques onsite as they are a fire hazard, but there are many picnic areas in the Arboretum.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Lovely place. Lots of nice dogs with considerate owners and no mess to be seen. Nice lunch in restaurant served by charming staff. Ignore negative comments and see for yourself.

Anonymous, 9/Apr/2017

Thanks for the lovely review. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I really love this place. Live locally and I have been visiting for the past 10 years, walking my dogs. I have seen a lot of people complaining about dog mess but every owner I see picks up their dog's mess. Recently I think the arboretum has become less dog friendly, probably due to people constantly complaining. Such a shame as it is equally a beautiful for place for people and dogs to visit.

Anonymous, 8/Apr/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your lovely review. We are working to keep the arboretum a place where dog owners and non-dog owners can walk and enjoy the arboretum. We feel that we achieve this by having the Old Arboretum dog free, but keeping Silk Wood (which makes up around two-thirds of the site) dog friendly.

Forestry Commission Response

I was really looking forward to looking forward to revisiting the arboretum but after all the negative reviews I don't think I will bother, shame!

Anonymous, 7/Apr/2017

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. We work hard to ensure that all our guests have a positive experience and feel that the vast majority of our visitors come away having had a great time at the arboretum. Earlier this year we received the Visit England Gold Accolade and we receive a lot of very positive feedback on both social media and trip advisor https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186292-d215053-Reviews-Westonbirt_Arboretum-Tetbury_Cotswolds_England.html We hope you will come and pay us a visit soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

This has to be one of the many beautiful places we have in this country. We love to walk here each week, to see how the walks change on a weekly basis and to see the trees and flowers is just wonderful. Our dogs love it as we do. The staff are also so wonderful and helpful in this stressed life a lot of us now live this is the way to relax. To us this is the best annual membership such good value for money.

Liz Cornish, 4/Apr/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us such a lovely review. We look forward to seeing you again very soon.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I'm a ten year member and so disappointed at the continued 'Disneyfication' of the arboretum. How can a 'national arboretum' not even sell trees? There is an ever increasing focus on kids and suburban entertainment. You encourage visitors to report irresponsible dog owners but children run wild, the paths are ever wider and signage is brash. Such as shame as it used to be so lovely.

Jonniej, 29/Mar/2017

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to send us your comments. At Westonbirt we are committed to providing a range of activities and information to allow everyone to connect with and learn about the amazing trees we care for here. We provide children's activities and events throughout the year (such as the Gruffalo Spotters Trail and the Family Events) in order to inspire the next generation of tree lovers, but we also try to ensure that there is plenty of space for our other guests to escape, relax and learn about trees, with 17 miles of path way throughout the arboretum, and events for adults such as our Discovery Sessions. Though our Plant Centre used to sell plants, unfortunately it had to close due to lack of demand. The Westonbirt shop now has some plants available for purchase. We have a range of pathways throughout the arboretum, from wider hard-paths and woodchip tracks, which allow visitors on mobility scooters and pushchairs to explore the arboretum, but we also have smaller tracks through the trees. We appreciate that there have been many changes in recent years (such as the Welcome Building and STIHL Treetop Walkway), but please rest assured that all changes have been made to enhance the visitor experience and to enable people to learn about and enjoy the arboretum.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I haven't visited yet and am unlikely to as I have reviewed all the comments over the past 6 months or so and all I read from the responses is ' we will pass that onto our team' or 'we are looking into upgrading our dog policy' when 99.5% of the comments relate to dogs dog poo and the quality of the food but appears despite numerous comments and complaints very very little has been done to address these issues. I am sure there are many like me that really check the reviews prior to visiting albeit a venue such as yours or a resturant. So until I see reviews reflecting real action from the FC and not placating responses to the paying clients complaints then I will give it a miss.

Geoff Wheatley, 28/Mar/2017

Hi, thanks for sending us your comments. Please rest assured that we do all we can to address visitor's feedback and to ensure that where possible we come up with effective solutions to problems. For instance, we ensure that there are an adequate number of bins for use by dog walkers onsite and that bags for their use are provided. We also feel that our policy of having Silk Wood dog-friendly and the Old Arboretum dog-free allows both kinds of visitors to enjoy the arboretum. We are also looking into ways to improve service at the restaurant, and are in discussion with the restaurant team about this at the moment. Our comments are in no way meant to be placating and we have a real desire to see to it that all problems are addressed. We do receive a lot of lovely feedback both on the website and on trip advisor etc. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186292-d215053-Reviews-Westonbirt_Arboretum-Tetbury_Cotswolds_England.html

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We visited for the first time on Mothers Day and completed the Gruffalo spotter walk which was brilliant! We couldn't stop telling everyone what a great day out we all had! Unfortunately the only negative was the restaurant which was unable to serve food as the chef had walked out!! I fully appreciate you couldn't predict this happening but at the end of the walk to not even get a sandwich was very disappointing!

Emma, 28/Mar/2017

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us your feedback. We're so glad you enjoyed the Gruffalo trail, and apologize that you were not able to have a bite to eat at the restaurant. We have taken your comments on board and are planning to review our procedures so we can continue to provide food for guests in exceptionally busy periods moving forward.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Spent my mother's day with my family on a beautiful walk at the Arboretum. Absolutely lovely, everyone enjoying a beautiful place

Jean membury , 26/Mar/2017

So glad you enjoyed your visit to us, we hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

A beautiful day for a mothers day trip to westonbirt with 3 generations & 2 dogs. As a member I know we can only walk in Silk Wood as the Old Arboretum is a dog free zone so we tend to walk first, stop for food then return to the car via a second silk wood walk. This didn't happen today. Our walk was cut short as we got to the restaurant, waited in a rather large queue only to be told at 13.40 there was no more hot food or sandwiches as 'the chef has walked out'! Surely the kitchen staff are able to make and provide a basic sandwich without the need for a chef even if it's limited fillings. With no other places to purchase sensible, savoury food, we had to cut our visit short & return home. A very disappointing end to what should have been a lovely 3 generation mother's day out. The restaurant is definitely going down hill both in terms of service and choice & there is a real lack of facilities if you have dogs i.e. nowhere to sit and eat under cover if weather inclement. Please, please do something about this before you lose members and regular visitors. Thank you.

Alison Collyer , 26/Mar/2017

Thank you so much for taking the time to send us your feedback. I'm so sorry that your visit was spoiled, and understand your frustration. I have passed your comments onto the restaurant team and we will take your comments on board going forward, as well as reviewing our food arrangements for very busy days to ensure we can cope with demand.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Lovely and tranquil

jane hynes, 26/Mar/2017

I note that the FC is advising that dog owners/walkers should adopt a "stick and flick" method of disposing of dog waste instead of using poo bags. Does Westonbirt intend to ask visitors to spread their animal's waste matter into the trees of Silk Wood or over the Downs and make the place unpleasant for everyone else? You provide both bags and bins so there is no excuse for people not to clean up properly after their animals.

Concerned regular visitor, 15/Mar/2017

Thank you for raising your concerns with us. The Forestry Commission does not encourage visitors to 'stick and flick' in areas with high people traffic, such as Westonbirt. We ask that all dog owners who visit us to bag the dog waste and either bin it in one of the bins provided or take it home with them. We are only suggesting the ‘stick & flick’ alternative in more remote areas of Forestry Commission property, where dog mess is then moved to areas where people are very unlikely to tread.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

We have been members for twenty years and I can agree with the comments about over commercial exposure. The aboretum is currently heading towards a municipal park. Where has the vision of the natural woodland setting gone. Why so many conifers these are neither rare unique or interesting. Move the gruffalo trail to the Old Aboretum children would enjoy the flowering trees. Why so many very high environmental impact paths. How long will Holford vision last, it seems to be disappearing under the modern 'more money more visitors' pressure that modern exploitation of resources for commercial gain. Not much of a vision for the future. Maybe commercially dog owners will be spreadsheeted off as their contribution can be made up with greater overexposure.

David and clare, 11/Mar/2017

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback, it is very much appreciated. We appreciate your concerns and please be assured that we work hard to ensure that the picturesque landscape of the Arboretum is maintained, while also allowing people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the woodland and learn about the amazing trees we care for here. We appreciate that there have been many changes in recent years, such as the Welcome Building and the STIHL Tree Top Walkway. At every point these changes have been planned with great care and with respect to the historic and picturesque landscape. The changes have been put in place to ensure that as many people as possible can come and learn about trees and experience the magic of the Arboretum. We are completely not-for-profit and all money goes back into caring for and maintaining the UK's forests. The reason we have conifers is that it is important to maintain a diverse selection of tree species. The conifers provide a stunning contrast to the deciduous trees, creating the beautiful landscape of Westonbirt, and are very lovely to look at in the winter when other trees are bare. We do have some very rare and critically endangered conifers on-site as well as more standard ones, such as yews, which form an essential part of the landscape. Although not all of our conifers are rare, we feel that they are very beautiful to look at and add to the picturesque landscape. The Gruffalo trail has been placed in SilkWood to ensure that families with and without dogs can come and enjoy the trail. We have a range of pathways at Westonbirt, from hard-paths and woodchip trails to simpler tracks through the woods. We like to have hard-paths onsite so that visitors with mobility scooters, prams, etc. can visit the arboretum easily. We try to ensure that the arboretum is a magical place to visit for dog-walkers and non-dog-walkers alike, and we feel we achieve this by having Silk Wood as a dog-friendly zone and the Old Arboretum dog free.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

I am dismayed by what I view as the 'Disneyfication' of Silk Wood.

Whilst I understand the desire to increase accessibility and commercial scope, this has to be carefully balanced with maintaining the character and atmosphere of the wood. Sadly I feel a line has been crossed and Silk Wood has already lost much of it's charm. Ironically, by removing the disabled parking spaces from Skilling Gate, you have rendered it inaccessible to many.

Deborah, 22/Feb/2017

Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback, it is very much appreciated. We work hard to make sure that the Arboretum appeals to a range of visitors, with activities for children in some areas, and quiet walking areas in others. We try to ensure that the arboretum is as accessible to all as possible. There are disabled spaces available in the car park and we also have mobility scooters available for hire from the Welcome Building so that everyone can experience the arboretum. More information on this can be found on our website: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6xcmjg

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We are Westonbirt member and have visited for many years with our dogs.

Whilst I appreciate that everyone wants to enjoy the site and and may not like dogs, I do feel that I have to stick up for all the responsible dog owners that enjoy Westonbirt in all weathers to walk their dogs and chill out from the working day/week. In all the years I have been going there I have not yet met one dog owner who wasn't friendly, but I do have to say I have noticed dog muck lately which is inexcusable as free dog poop bags are provided...it's a pity that the bin along the path just past the bridge had been removed however.

We tend to stick to the back routes to avoid the crowds and are dogs are not let off their leads until we have left the main paths...which from what I've seen most dogs owners do. We have never been in the Old Arboretum with our dogs as obviously we are not allowed too.

A few times we have very nearly been knocked off our feet by children riding bikes or scooters but just see it as children letting off steam. I have never seen a dog using the bridge as a pooing area...what the heck?!!!

Not all people like dogs but I really hope that Westonbirt don't let the minority spoil it for others or rethink their dog friendly policy as that would be a real shame...we're a nation of dog lovers after all. Hopefully we can continue to enjoy it together!

Anonymous, 19/Feb/2017

To the family who attempted to visit on 8.2.17. The website clearly says under Plan your visit,the price to get in. I can't find anything about paying for parking

Anonymous, 19/Feb/2017
4 Stars 4 Stars

Renewed our membership for 2017 and have been back twice already as it is a lovely dog walking opportunity. However as a dog walker you can only access one half of the park so value for money is decreased. Despite the large number of us there is also no where warm to eat or drink. I see some visitors object to dogs being allowed at all, but the dogs are generally quieter and cleaner than young children. I hope dog access does not change as we provide most of your custom over winter! But suggest the addition of more waste bins would help cleanliness. I have only ever found the ones at the entrance to the silk wood, none further inside. No one wants to carry dog poo around with them, so you have to keep back tracking to the bins!

Sadly the restaurant is a disappointment. Sitting outside is pretty miserable in Winter and yesterday my soup and hot chocolate were so watery and tasteless I couldn't eat/drink them, even though it did cost 7.80! The choices have decreased even further in 2017 and I am now struggling to find something I like on the menu. Still not sure why you offer roast belly pork or Thai fishcakes etc. It doesn't seem appropriate for dog walks and kids days out.

The signage and new walkway add lots of interest and we always discover new walking routes. Looking forward to the Spring foliage!

Anonymous, 19/Feb/2017

Thank you for sending us your feedback. It is very much appreciated. We try to ensure that Westonbirt provides an enjoyable experience for visitors with and without dogs, by making the Silk Wood, which makes up around two thirds of the arboretum, dog friendly and the Old Arboretum dog free. We have passed your feedback regarding the bins onto the team and will keeping your comments in mind moving forward. We try to ensure that the restaurant provides meals for all, with an choice of hot meals and sandwiches and toasties. I apologize that your last experience in the restaurant was not enjoyable; I have passed your feedback onto the team. We look forward to seeing you again in the Spring.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

We are members and took 3 of our grandchildren to the Arboretum yesterday. They had great fun and took part in the crafts, which they enjoyed immensely. So far top marks. Then we took them to the restaurant for lunch as a treat. It was busy, that is true, we found a table which had not been cleared, and eventually I had to ask for it to be done, the floor beneath it was littered with food that had fallen from it, nothing was done about it. I asked for ham and cheese toasted sandwiches for the children - apparently couldn't be done! I would have paid extra. But they could only offer ham or cheese. It was disappointing, the take it or leave it attitude was less than welcoming, and the food we did have was not good, but was expensive. That's why there are only three stars. Everything else about the day was thoroughly enjoyable.

Rhona, 17/Feb/2017

Hi, Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback, and we're sorry you did not enjoy your experience in the restaurant. I have forwarded your comments onto the restaurant team, and we will make every effort to ensure that the issues you faced are addressed, and that the restaurant provides an enjoyable experience for our guests.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

A pleasant wet winter walk with our dog, we wouldn't have come if you weren't dog friendly. Designated areas clearly marked but, like speed limits on roads, not everyone adheres to the rules. I don't think your access regulations are at fault, it's how (or if) you enforce them when people choose not to adhere to them.

We'll certainly return when next in the area.

Martin, 8/Feb/2017

We visited today after a 30 min drive to get there but didn't even make it throught the entrance as we were not expecting to pay the entrance fee as it is not advertised on here. All it indicates is having to pay for parking which i would expect as visited other forestry commission woods and that's what is advertised. The kids were rather disappointed.

Anonymous, 5/Feb/2017
3 Stars 3 Stars

We are members of Westonbirt and absolutely love it - we have enjoyed many wonderful walks and the enchanted forest at Christmas. We have a toddler and one of the reasons we love it so much is that we can let her run carefree in the Old Arboretum as it is dog free ... However, on our last couple of visits I have been very upset and dismayed that I have seen dogs with their owners in the Old Arboretum and off the leads in this area and one dog jumped up at our toddler and scared her. This issue really needs to be addressed as we feel there are plenty of spaces in Silk Wood if you have a dog and more needs to be done to keep the Old Arboretum dog free. The only reason I am not rating this higher stars is that. Thank you

Anonymous, 4/Feb/2017

Hi, thanks for taking the time to get in touch. Our policy is that, while dogs are very welcome in Silk Wood, no dogs are allowed in the Old Arboretum and while on the Downs must be kept on the lead. Thank you for alerting us to the fact that in some cases this policy is not being adhered to; I have passed your feedback onto the team and we will bear it in mind when considering our dog-policy going forward. In the meantime, we will do all we can to ensure that all visitors are fully aware of where dogs are and are not permitted in the Arboretum.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I love the Arbouretum, and I really like the shop there and always make a point of trying to go at the end of my visit, but it shuts too early and I rarely have enough time to browse.

Chris Garbutt, 23/Jan/2017

Thanks so much for getting in touch and for your feedback - we are glad you enjoy your visits to us! The shop is generally open 9-5; we have forwarded your feedback onto the shop team.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

My sister bought me and my partner a membership for Christmas and we have already been 4 times.

Its such a great place and I love all the wooden carvings everywhere which are really fun and beautiful.

We go a different route each time and it's easy to spend a couple of hours walking around the place.

We always leave feeling like we've had a work out but also gotten a way for a bit.

It's a great place.

Jessica Ealey, 22/Jan/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

My boys and I really love the Arboretum, and regularly explore the old arboretum regardless of the weather. I suggest to everyone I know that buying a yearly pass is better value than a month pass to a softplay. And to anyone new who hasn't visited yet, I can assure you you won't be disappointed!! Look for the felled giant and the Gruffalo... Thanks to the Friends as well, for the Enchanted Christmas - it was brilliant.

Owen Walker, 9/Jan/2017

Having been members of the Friends of Westonbirt for several years we are aware of busy periods, pinch points, children on cycles, dogs within the arboretum etc. We visited today and were anticipating Westonbirt being busy so we're not particularly surprised to find staff directing cars into the overflow car park although since there were several cars leaving from the main car park there were obviously some spaces there. There was a long queue to buy entry tickets which obviously didn't affect us but what surprised us was finding the "shepherds hut" refreshment point closed. There were the ussual children out of control on their cycles with little or no input from their parents. What really surprised us was finding the refreshment point adjacent to the playground closed. This left just the main restuarant as a source of obtaining a hot drink with a queue out of the door and down the side of the building to the recently resurfaced terrace. I know that the catering is not directly run by the Forestry Commision but they are responsible for issuing the contract. It seems incredible that on New Years Bank Holiday there was only one refreshment point in operation for the entire complex but staff had been brought in for the correctly expected large numbers of visitors. I must say that since the current catering came in to place the value for money and standard of service has gone downhill. As an example a few weeks ago at 1.15pm no scones of any type were available as "they haven't come out of the oven yet". There also seems to have been a vast increase in the use of pedal cycles within all parts of the arboretum. I am not here talking of toddlers on their balance bikes but early to mid teenagers on mountain bikes. Today there was even a Mum riding through Silk Wood trying to catch her son up. I appreciate that it impossible to police the entire arboretum but feel that more prominent signing both at the main entrance and at the trances to the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood would be a step in the right direction.

Anonymous, 2/Jan/2017

Thanks you for taking the time to send us your feedback. I'm sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your visit on New Years Day. I have shared your comments with the team and we will do all we can to ensure the issues you raised are addressed where possible. Unfortunately, due to large volumes of visitors we sometimes have to wait a while for the main car park to clear a little before letting new visitors in. This is to prevent large queues with the car park itself. I have forwarded your feedback onto the restaurant staff, and they will be taken into account going forward. The decision last year was made to move the Shepherd's Hut up to where the restaurant. This is in order that we can provide hot drinks to dog walkers, who would then not need to enter the restaurant with dogs. The move will also ensure that there is a wider choice of refreshment options at the restaurant, and that there are more staff on hand during peak periods. We do appreciate that some visitors enjoy having a refreshment option at the Welcome Building, and are currently looking into whether it may be possible to provide an alternative refreshment facility here. We do not allow full sized bicycles within the Arboretum, thank you for alerting us to the fact that some visitors are not aware of this. We will look into ways that we can ensure that all visitors are aware of our 'no adult bicycles' policy.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

The old arboretum is simply wonderful and I would recommend to anyone a must see in a lifetime.

However the rest of the place is very much dog owners only. I walked silk wood and was approached by several dogs off leads with no owners even visible, a young family in front of us were quite concerned at one point when a group of dogs came right up to their children. I was shocked I must admit to think that this is par for the course at this venue after all we had all paid to go in but we're not informed that dogs run free in half of the place. It is a shame and I think you do need to warn people that there is a risk after all there is no guarantee that any of the dogs will not attack.

Anonymous, 1/Jan/2017

Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback. We aim to ensure that the Arboretum is a place where dog owners and non-dog owners alike can enjoy the beauty of the trees, by keeping Silk Wood dog friendly and the Old Arboretum dog-free. We are reviewing our dog and signage policy and your comments will be taken on board.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

We have been members of Westonbirt for 6 years and have had some truly amazing days out with our children there. In recent months there are more and more dog walkers and thus more and more dogs mess. My son hadn't even got from the car to the entrance gate before he had trod in some dogs mess. We tend to walk in the old arboretum to avoid the dogs, which we did today but it is much smaller and the children still had energy left at the end of the lap. We decided to continue our walk on the dog side as the children were keen to visit the slide. While there were many responsible dog owners there were also many dogs running everywhere and some owners either didn't notice or turned a blind eye to their dog mess. Some seem to think as it is the dog side and children should be on the other side, it is acceptable for their dogs to run up and intimidate the children. I feel since the beautiful bridge dog owners can get into the woods quicker and it is being used as convenient dog exercising/pooing area. During the summer I used to take the children to cherry glade away from the main drag and the dog mess but I see infrastructure is being put in place to make this area busier. I think the play trail is a lovely idea but it is ruined by dog mess. There are some very special trees that I have seen dogs urinating on. Only one in 4 households own a dog and yet dogs are taking over more and more of our national heritage. It has got to the point where some people are not there to appreciate and be educated about trees but visit as a convenient place to take their dog for a poo. We had 3 children with us today who really enjoyed the play trail but they all left with not just good honest mud on their clothes but poo as well. We won't be renewing our membership. It is such a shame as we have learnt so much from the children's educational activities and their knowledge and appreciation of woodlands is mainly down to their experiences at Westonbirt.

Anonymous, 31/Dec/2016

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch and for your feedback. I'm sorry that you have not enjoyed your visits lately. We try to achieve a balance with having the Silk Wood dog friendly and the Old Arboretum dog-free. We will take your feedback on board when considering our dog policy and signage going forward.

Forestry Commission Response

Hello visited for the first time today. I thought some of the trees were to be lit with coloured lights but didn't see any. Maybe a nice idea next winter, especially for the very young to encourage to view the trees.

Isobel , 30/Dec/2016

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. Unfortunately our Enchanted Christmas event, where we light up the trees in the evening, ended on the 18th December last year. We will definitely be holding the event again in 2017. More information on booking and dates will be posted on the website later this year.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Thank you so much for the wonderful Enchanted Christmas! My 10, 8 and 4 year olds absolutely loved it. The lighting displays were stunning and the variation was very impressive, with the interactive elements being a particular favourite with the children. Although it was busy and we queued for Father Christmas and for many of the interactive features, the wait was never onorous and there was room for many many children in the art and craft area. One request from my 10 and 8 year olds for next year (they are already saying they want to go again!) - please could you have a larger carousel that they could go on?

Louise, 21/Dec/2016

We're so glad that you and your family enjoyed Enchanted Christmas! Your suggestion of a larger carousel has been sent to the planning team for 2017. Do come and visit us again soon!

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I took my 2 grandchilden to see the xmas lights on Sunday 18th December. We have been to see the lights a few times. When we got there the boys always look for a glow toy which I get them, but we could not find any so I had two little boys very upset. I think they had sold out which is nobody's fault. That is not the reason I am emailing. It was to say what a great night we had, but next time I think I will get the boys a glow toy before we go.

maggie thomas, 19/Dec/2016

Happy to hear you enjoyed your visit to Enchanted Christmas. We're sorry that your grandchildren didn't get a glow toy this year; we had a very large number of visitors to Enchanted Christmas, and so some merchandise sold out quickly. You're feedback has been passed onto the planning team for next year, and hopefully we will be able to provide more of the popular toys for sale in 2017.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

As a long standing member of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum I was interested to read the comment below from another member. A better solution would be to have dogs on leads at all times in the whole arboretum, so that all people could enjoy the whole arboretum. The old arboretum is dog free but that shouldn't mean people can't enjoy the vast size of the rest and beauty of the arboretum. I have seen on many, many occasions dog owners 'walking' multiple dogs with the dogs roaming around jumping up on other visitors. This is clearly unacceptable. The number of dogs also scare off the wildlife. The arboretum should be a place for peace,relaxation and most importantly to witness the beauty of these amazing trees. It shouldn't be a ruined trip dodging loads of dogs not on leads. A compromise would be to have dogs on leads at all times throughout the whole arboretum. The visitors could enjoy taking their dog or dogs for a walk whilst not ruining the enjoyment for other visitors. The whole entire situation has got completely out of hand at the arboretum and needs to be resolved, it's simply not working.

Anonymous, 17/Dec/2016

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch and for your suggestions. We work hard to make Westonbirt a place where dog walkers and non dog walkers can enjoy their visit by having Silk Wood dog-friendly and the Old Arboretum dog free. We are currently reviewing our dog policy, and your suggestion will be taken on board.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Fantastic

Emma, 5/Dec/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

I visit the arboretum regularly. I would visit three times a week if I could get the dogs nearer to where they can be let off the lead. I am now disabled and getting the dogs to the woods is too difficult for me. They are excellent well behaved dogs - have you any suggestions? Before the new ticket area I would drive to the parking disabled area near your cafe and we would be off across the downs. Oh for an easy life. Thank you. Also I would just mention that another friend has the same problem.

G Ward, 3/Dec/2016

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. We have mobility scooters available for hire in the Welcome Building, which is located next to the car park. Our hire scooters should be booked in advance by calling Visitor Services on 0300 067 4861, and they are available for free loan in two time slots: from 10am to 12.30pm and from 1pm to 3.30pm.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

To add to the comments by Anonymous regarding abuse of dog owners in Silk Wood, I agree that verbal abuse of dog owners is totally unacceptable under any circumstance. Its clearly stated that dogs are welcome there and a dog free option is also available.

As a FOWA, non-dog owner and a parent of two smallish children we generally use the Old Arboretum and value the fact that dogs arent allowed as it means the can roam without fear of unruly dogs (which sadly do exist) and the risk of standing in something unpleasant.

Earlier in the year, however, we ventured into Silk Wood for a change but were dismayed by the amount of dog mess left around, particularly along Palmer ride. It didnt make for a comfortable experience as we spent as much time looking down at where we were putting our feet as we did looking at the trees. We have now retreated back to the Old Arboretum for the time being.

Maybe, as part of your review of your dog policy and signage, you would consider reinforcing the pick it up message and perhaps you could look at the facilities you provide in this respect.

With regards to the comment about parking, I would fully support this. I have always thought that a FOWA designated parking area would be a nice perk that would cost you little but would make those who regularly contribute feel a little bit appreciated. It would have also made me consider a membership if I didnt already have one.

Finally(!)- Enchanted Christmas was brilliant this year. The trail is very good as usual but what made the evening excellent was the setting around the caf/shop/restaurant area. The staff there - Mother Christmas, Father Christmas, the Giant Fairy and particularly the cheeky elves really made an effort to make the event a magical one for the kids. Well done!

Steve, 2/Dec/2016
4 Stars 4 Stars

My husband and I visit Westonbirt on average twice a year and really enjoy it. However we visited today and while we were using the wooden walkway, newly opened since the last time we visited in March, the waste company were parked underneath collecting the waste from the sewers. It truly was an awful smell and ruined the walk along the wooden walkway for not only us but countless other visitors walking along the walkway at that time. Could the waste company not visit before or after visitors have paid to experience the lovely walks?

Sadie Pyle, 14/Nov/2016

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us your feedback, and we are so sorry your visit was spoiled in November. Usually we do ensure that maintenance work which may effect our visitors is completed outside of opening hours. Unfortunately in November we had to do some major essential maintenance work on the sewers and this continued into the day - we apologize that this spoiled your enjoyment of your visit!

Forestry Commission Response

More indoor restaurant facilities would be good . But such an enjoyable day

Anonymous, 8/Nov/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Truely amazing colours. Beech gold and Acers on fire - http://roaminrascal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/when-autumn-leaves-begin-to-fall.html Busy but well organised.

Peter & Marilyn, 5/Nov/2016
3 Stars 3 Stars

As a member of Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum I regularly walk in Silk Wood year round with my dog. From late November through to April Westonbirt is a peaceful beautiful place to walk, unwind and take in stunning scenery which is managed by staff with obvious love care and attention. I appreciate that late September through to mid November is inevitably going to be busy with the beautiful Autumn colours on display. However, having visited twice this week I have been appalled at the behaviour of some visitors. I have been subjected to verbal abuse from several other visitors who clearly weren't dog lovers. I hasten to add my dog was not in any way shape or form misbehaving or being a nuisance but audible comments like 'b****y dogs' and 'should be on a lead' were being banded about. I realise WA staff have no control over the behaviour of other visitors but the space is for everyone to enjoy. For some people listening to other children crying and having temper tantrums or running around oblivious of others is an irritation but it would not be deemed acceptable to berate parents in the same way dog walkers are. There are designated areas of the Arboretum which are dog free. As a dog owner I accept this but I feel I should be entitled to walk my dog without being subjected to abuse in areas of the Arboretum that are deemed to be 'dog friendly'. Would it be possible to put clear notices at both entrances to Silk Wood that clarifies that dogs are welcome and can be off-lead and that anti-social behaviour towards other visitors is not acceptable.

Another issue is that some areas of the overflow car park are a significant distance from the Welcome Centre and Silk Wood. As a supporter of WA I think priority parking in the main car park should be available to members as a good will gesture.

Anonymous, 2/Nov/2016

Hi there Thank you for giving us your comments on your visit and we are sorry to hear about the incidents you mention. We are currently undergoing a review of our dogs policy and signage. Your feedback on signage is really useful to us and we will be taking it on board. Thank you for your suggestion regarding priority parking, the management team will review this. We hope you enjoy a visit to Westonbirt again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
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