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

5 Stars 5 Stars

What an amazing day out with Alfie the dog. Such gorgeous autumn colours on show. Thank you for a lovely day. We've found another favourite place!

Jen, 14/Sep/2017

Thank you for taking the time to send us such lovely feedback. We are so thrilled that you enjoyed your visit. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response

I wonder if the visit suits a wheelchair? We are moving to Cheltenham in two weeks. It sounds a super place to visit and walk and wheel if suitable.

Many thanks.

Sheelagh, 14/Sep/2017

Hi, Great to hear from you. We make all of our trails as accessible and wheelchair friendly as possible, so you will be fine to visit. Good luck with your move and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi if we are National Trust members do we have acces in Westonbirt Arboretum?

Thanks,

Corina Anghel, 13/Sep/2017

Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. No, National Trust members do not have free access to the arboretum. Westonbirt is cared for by the Forestry Commission.

Forestry Commission Response

If I am a member of R H S is the entrance fee less. Please advise.

Anonymous, 31/Aug/2017

Hi, unfortunately we no longer have a reciprocal arrangement with the RHS, so there is no discounted entrance for RHS members to the arboretum.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Great day out in Westonbirt and love the new bridge into Silk Wood which may be a reflection of how long it is since last here.

This would have been five stars apart from the fact that we couldn't walk our dog in the older part of the arboretum and were limited to Silk Wood. My suggestion is that given dog walkers have reduced access they should be offered a reduced entrance fee.

Andrew, 29/Aug/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

One of my very favorite places to visit. I've done all seasons; each are very beautiful, staff are helpful and friendly and being able to bring our border collie is a bonus. Looking forward to our visit again in Autumn to see again the beautiful colour changes

Anne harris, 28/Aug/2017

Thanks for your kind feedback. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We recently had a fabulous day with 3 generations of our family together; hunting gruffalos and then walking one of the kids trails. Will definitely be heading back in half-term

Anonymous, 24/Aug/2017

Great to hear you enjoyed your visit to us. We look forward to seeing you in half term!

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a lovely afternoon with my family. I was so pleased when it came to changing my disabled daughter. Was expecting the usual thing of having to change her on the floor and it was great to see the excellent changing facilities. It was also very clean. It made such a difference to our visit. Thank you

Sandra blake. 22 august 2017, 22/Aug/2017

We're so happy that you had a good time on site; thank you for taking the time to send us your lovely feedback. We hope to see you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I recently had the opportunity to take part in one of the regular guided walks. What a revelation! The guides were both very knowledgeable and took me into parts of the arboretum that otherwise I would have missed totally. I would recommend all visitors to do the same.

Peter, 19/Aug/2017

Thanks for your lovely comments, we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Loved our day at the Arboretum - Magical place. The food in the restaurant was superb as well - we were not expecting that. I just wish we lived closer so that I could visit more often. We will be back !

John, 16/Aug/2017

We're so glad to hear you enjoyed your time onsite - we look forward to seeing you again.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We based our visit on previous reviews as we have a manual wheelchair to consider. We found the paths easy going, with one large incline at waste gate towards the restaurant, but being pre-warn, we were prepared. The staff very friendly and helpful. Its great to find toilet facilitlies that have a hoist and a bed. Would highly recommend to our friends.

Sara Croft, 10/Aug/2017

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us your lovely review. We are so happy to hear you enjoyed your visit to us. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response

When is the best time to see autumn colours?

Alpi, 9/Aug/2017

The British weather being what it is the best time to see the autumn colours can vary year to year. However, they tend to be at their peak during the last two weeks of October. We hope to see you then.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

It's great that during summer holidays the kids go free, they have easy access for pushchairs & our most favourite time is Christmas it's magical & we loved the Christmas activities and the story time to finish off the visit, the kids loved having a hot chocolate listening to a story

Jenny, 9/Aug/2017

Thanks for your lovely review - we're so glad you enjoy your visits to us. Hope to see you again at Enchanted Christmas this year.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi are dogs allowed off lead in silk wood? Or anywhere else in the arboretum?

Anonymous, 8/Aug/2017

Dogs are allowed off the lead in Silk Wood, as long as they are kept under control. This is the only place in the arboretum where dogs are allowed off the lead. Please note, however, that we do ask that dogs be kept on the lead on the Gruffalo trail in Silk Wood. This is due to the large numbers of small children on the trail. Dogs on the lead are welcome on the Downs and around the shop and café, but please be aware that the Old Arboretum is a dog free zone. If you are unsure of where to go at any time, do ask a member of staff at the Welcome Building and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Forestry Commission Response

Are you having Treefest this year, cant find anything on it

Graham , 7/Aug/2017

No, TreeFest will not be taking place this year.

Forestry Commission Response

I object to the disabled parking being the furthest point from the visitors centre and still miss being able to step out of my car near to the restaurant and oak hall.l guess I can' t appreciate the reclaimed Downs which was originally the car park.A friend I took to one of the concerts found it a very long way to walk from the car park to arena.

Anonymous, 30/Jul/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us in your feedback. The car park was moved to its current location in order to allow the Grade 1 listed Downs area to be properly conserved and protected. We do, however, appreciate that this has resulted in an increased walk to the main facilities for our guests, and for this reason we are currently planning to trial a mobility shuttle vehicle here at Westonbirt, which would take those with mobility needs from the Welcome Building up to the restaurant and shop area. Further details on this will be announced shortly.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Pushing a manual wheelchair round the Silk Wood summer trail anti-clockwise, it took quite an effort to go up from the Waste Gate to the Silk Wood barn. Otherwise, the paths were easy and it's excellent for a wheelchair based trip. The disabled facilities were excellent and the staff very helpful. I was offered a motorised chair but it wasn't suitable for us.

Lesley V, 21/Jul/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

We joined for regular exercise that comes with ever changing views in a healthy environment with good facilities. Westonbirt did not disappoint. It offers one of the best value for money annual memberships you can find as you only have to visit 3-4 times to make it pay. It's an all year round place, not just Autumn. There are so many on and off-track routes you take, or just make up your own. Joining also means you can visit after the ticket office closes.

D&T, 19/Jul/2017

I am a friend of Westonbirt and visit regularly. So many people visit with their dogs so it does amaze me that we have to take drinks/food outside. Not provision is made for any covered area to eat/drink. This is ok in the summer but in the winter I have abandoned any opportunity for coffee as it is too cold/wet outside. I cannot be the only dog walker to go somewhere else (local pub) for a coffee and a warm up. You are losing lots of business by not providing somewhere undercover for the many dog walkers who visit. There was no-where on the recent survey to pass this comment.

Anonymous, 19/Jul/2017

Hi Kathy, Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback. Unfortunately, for health and hygiene reasons we are unable to allow dogs in the restaurant, with the exception of guide dogs. We do provide some tables under cover at the back of the shop, near to the café area.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I visit up to three times a week. Always enjoy walking amongst the trees and meeting people. Enjoy a coffe with friendly welcoming staff. Silk wood is exceptional and with my dog always meet other humans. So pleased I'm still fit enough to be able to walk and enjoy so much natural woodland. Staff are friendly also.

Anonymous, 18/Jul/2017

Thank you so much for your lovely review. We hope to see you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Being senior citizens ourselves, we were surprised there are no concessions. Surely Westonbirt is somewhere which can be enjoyed by all ages and ideally a place to go for a cup of tea and piece of cake during afternoons. A lot of us cannot walk far but enjoy the trees. A little bit of encouragement would not be unwelcome.

Anonymous, 18/Jul/2017

Thanks for sending us your feedback. Our policy at Westonbirt is to focus concessionary rates on those groups that most need them, who otherwise might not be able to visit the arboretum. At the moment we offer reduced prices to students and job seekers, and also to those who travel to the arboretum by bicycle or by public transport.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

The shop is excellent with incredibly helpful staff. The restaurant is also an important aspect to my visit. Usually the food is excellent. On my last visit, when I brought a friend, there seemed to be less choice and was not up to your usual standard.

Viv street, 18/Jul/2017

Thanks for sending us your comments Viv. We're so sorry that you had a disappointing experience at your last visit to the restaurant. We try to provide a wide range of options at the restaurant, including soups, sandwiches, savoury snacks, cakes and a seasonal menu of hot meals. We have passed your comments onto the team.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Had a great time using recent visit. Only disappointment was that Japanese maple area was very overgrown with weeds and grasses. Not the best showcase for these beautiful trees!

Gareth Williams, 8/Jul/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. In general, we maintain Silk Wood (where the Japanese Maple collection can be found) in a more rustic fashion compared to the Old Arboretum. Apart from rides and paths, the sward in Maple Loop is managed as long grass until about this time of year, when it will be cut short until the end of the growing season. In addition, we are undertaking some tree work in the north-eastern corner of Maple Loop, as well as the area adjacent to Broad Drive, as part of our routine remedial cycle. This is a big job and has taken quite some time, but we hope to be finished here soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Fantastic first visit to Westonbirt. Arrived at by car 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. Well signposted, easy to find, and an excellent Car Park with nice wide spaces. And thankfully not too busy! Entrance was quick and easy with helpful staff, then the adventure began. A truly amazing place, the location is magical, while the size and scale of the collection is breathtaking and well worth the 80 mile journey from our home. In addition the entire site - at least as far as we saw over the 3 miles we walked - was incredibly well maintained. After all the walking you'll need a bite to eat and drink, so it's good to know the food and beverage options are excellent and exceeded our expectations. As something of a coffee snob I wasn't expecting anything special when I ordered a cappuccino but the quality was by some way better than your average Starbucks/Costa - it's all in the training and these guys have clearly had the training! F&B also reasonably priced - a refreshing change - and served in the centre of the Arboretum in a lovely oak framed, airy restaurant with full height glazing and obligatory green roof, with lovely views all around. So good we went back for a second cup of coffee after a couple more hours walking. My wife and I went with our sons, aged 12 and 10. The boys were a bit sceptical at first (what, a load of trees?), but they loved it just as much as us. We'll definitely return later in the year to see the effect of the changing seasons. A real treat to go somewhere so pretty, so well maintained, with great standards of service and yet not over-commercialised. Our congratulations to the entire team at Westonbirt for a great experience - we'll see you again soon!

The Rudges , 2/Jul/2017

Thanks for sending us your lovely feedback - we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Overall this is a well managed venue it must be really challenging to organise thousands of people safely and all the staff are up beat and not officious. We went to the Olly Murs concert and it was great, I do think it would have been better if there was some super sized screens around the venue, I only got to see him if someone moved out of the way and then only because there was a large screen showing him. When Louisa Johnson performed there was no screen so we never even got to see her at all until she performed with Olly.

We were parked in "Fox" and when we got to the queue from the car park we then had to walk a long way to the end of the queue and then walk that distance back again. Surely it would be better to filter people from the car parks into the question bit by bit.. apart from these two little gripes I love the venue the staff are excellent and plenty of clean porta-loos. I would like to know what the rules on smoking and vamping are? It is very unpleasant if you are next to someone smoking or vaping if you are a non smoker.

Suzanne Carver, 1/Jul/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback and suggestions. It's great to hear that you enjoyed the concerts. As a rule we do not provide large screens, and this is to keep ticket prices as low as possible. The hire of the screen, along with the associated cameras and staff significantly increase the cost of putting on the event, which would be reflected in the ticket price. Additionally, some artists prefer not to work with screens. Olly Murs team brought a screen with them, which was why one was used for his performance. Regarding parking we had new parking arrangements in place this year, and are working with our parking partners to refine the process for 2018, to ensure that leaving the site at the end of the evening is a smooth and stress free as possible for all our visitors. Regarding smoking and vaping, as the concerts are at an outdoor venue we do allow these at the concerts, but do ask that smokers/ vapers be considerate of others around them.

Forestry Commission Response

Today my wife and I enjoyed a visit to the Arboretum. I was surprised to notice there was no concession for pensioners. I think that this is a sad reflection on Forestry Commission attitude to senior citizens. Enough said ---

Philip pallot, 30/Jun/2017

Why have you closed the tree too walk way on a weekend?! Disappointed as we were looking forward to it.

Anonymous, 23/Jun/2017

Hi, We're sorry to hear you're disappointed about the closure of the walkway. Unfortunately, due to essential maintenance works we did have to close the walkway from Thurs 22 - Saturday 23 June, however, it has now re-opened to the public.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Friends and I attended the Rick Astley concert on Saturday 17th June, the event was well managed and didn't take much time to get in or out.

A couple of super size screans would have been good as I couldn't see much of the stage from where I was.

I also think that a more up beat supporting artist would have been better, I do like Rumour's music, but it was like a wind down to Rick's show.

Ali, 22/Jun/2017

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback - we're so glad that you enjoyed the concert. The reason we tend not to provide large screens is that we are committed to keeping ticket prices as low as possible and the hire of the screen, associated cameras and staff would significantly increase the cost of putting on the event, which would be reflected in the ticket price. We have, though, passed your suggestion onto the events team, and will bear in mind when planning for next year.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Further to Mike's comment below about exiting the car park following Elbow's concert, we had the same experience whilst leaving after Rick Astley. We were parked in N5 and were directed to the end of the exit queue by a marshall, where we sat without moving for 45 mins, all the while almost the entire area cleared by people not queuing where told and pushing in further down the line. After eventually moving we turned towards the main onsite road and were joined by a second line of traffic from areas N1-4 - and somewhere a third line of traffic appeared! As we approached the gate to turn left onto the main onsite road the three lanes had to go into one - and there ensued lots of tooting and road rage anger and basically whoever was fastest got through the gate first. All while a marshall watched the chaos unfurl! I was expecting the exit traffic to be managed much better than previous years due to a chunk of cars being parked in the school rather than onsite but it seemed a lot worse. Although we really enjoyed the concert we'll have to consider next year whether it's worth the hassle of the nightmare of the car park.

Vicky, 19/Jun/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your comments, we are continually looking for ways to improve, and welcome your feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience leaving the car park. As you can imagine, with thousands of people leaving the site at the end of the concerts, parking poses a continual challenge for us. We had new parking arrangements in place this year, and are working with our parking partners to refine and improve procedures for 2018 to ensure that leaving the car park is as easy and stress free as possible for our visitors. We have passed your comments onto the events team and they will be taken on board when planning for next year.

Forestry Commission Response

When will westonbirt be open to come for a day out with our dogs? Thanks Sian

Sian Coupland, 18/Jun/2017

Hi Sian, We are open everyday 9am - 5pm, last entry to the arboretum is at 4:30pm. Please note that dogs are welcome in Silk Wood, which makes up around two-thirds of the arboretum, however we do ask that the Old Arboretum remain a dog free zone. If you ask the staff at the Welcome Building as you come in they should be able to point you in the right direction. Please also be aware that this week Thursday 22 - Saturday 25 the STIHL Tree Top walkway and the path down to the café and shop will be closed for essential maintenance work. We hope you enjoy your visit to us and look forward to seeing you soon.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

Saw Elbow at Westonbirt on the 16th June 2017 who were fantastic.

Couple of problems in that there was a huge gap between the support act and Elbow which I think was caused by one act not appearing although there was no announcement.

Expected the usual car park problems when leaving the event but it was particularly bad at Westonbirt taking over an hour to move from the parking space with another 45 mins to finally get to the exit.

So a good evening spoilt by poor organisation and as such would not attend a concert again.

Mike, 16/Jun/2017

Hi Mike, Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. We do allow a gap in between the support act and the main act. This is to allow time for the backstage team to set up for the main act, and also time for our visitors to use the facilities and purchase refreshments, without missing any of the performance. We're sorry to hear that you had a bad experience leaving the car park. We had new parking arrangements in place this year and are working hard with our parking partner to improve the procedures for next year, to ensure that leaving the concert is as easy and stress free as possible for our visitors.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I appreciate all the comments by dog walkers who want to let their dogs off the lead and I know it is difficult to keep everyone happy. However, this is supposed to be a sanctuary for wildlife too, and many owners just let their dogs crash around in the undergrowth and chase anything in sight. Some owners do not have their dogs under control and they rush up to people, disturb picnics, etc. and if you say anything they say "He is only playing, he won't hurt", or similar, and you have to fend off their dog. My daughter (adult) actually had her trousers torn and leg bruised by a loose dog running up from behind and nipping her leg. The owner did not apologise or get the dog back. I do not see why dogs should not be on leads everywhere except a fenced exercise area where they can play with other dogs off lead (similar to many places in America). They can have extendable leads elsewhere and that way cannot frighten or even injure people or disturb wildlife. Also I do not think this is a place where children can be allowed to rampage around willy-nilly, screaming their heads off, as the school parties often do in the old arboretum. This is definitely not the peaceful place it used to be and is definitely over-commercialised.

Anonymous, 13/Jun/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. We work hard at Westonbirt to strike the balance between providing a peaceful sanctuary, and a place where families can enjoy a fun day out. We provide 17 miles of pathway throughout the arboretum to try to ensure that visitors who wish to, can always find a peaceful spot away from the crowds, and we at all times ask our visitors to be mindful of others. We feel that by allowing dogs in Silk Wood, provided they are kept under control, and keeping the Old Arboretum dog free we cater for the needs of all our visitors, and provide a happy balance between a dog friendly site and a space where non-dog owners can enjoy a quiet walk in the woods.

Forestry Commission Response

I must support the previous correspondence about plastic entry cards. The current ones are not fit for purpose and it is certainly very unclear in the joining literature that replacements will be free.

Also, can you please make public when the arboretum will be open until 8pm for members? I would very much like to visit in the evening but won't make the trip until I'm sure I'll be able to get in.

Thank you

Anonymous, 12/Jun/2017

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback - we have passed your comments onto the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum team. The reason we do not issue plastic cards at present is that the barriers are unable to read plastic cards. The arboretum is open to members until 8pm until the 29 October 2017.

Forestry Commission Response

MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE YET TO VISIT YOUR ARBORETUM BUT I HAVE BECOME VERY NERVOUS OF DOGS AS I HAVE AGED (NOW OVER 70!)...HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF FOLK LIKE ME AND HAVE NO DOG DAYS FROM TIME TO TIME PLEASE? THERE ARE MANY OTHER FOLK WHO FEEL THE SAME AS MYSELF REGARDING DOGS ALTHOUGH WE RESPECT DOG LOVERS OF COURSE.

MRS ANNE EDWARDS, 10/Jun/2017

Thanks for getting in contact with us. We aim to provide a wonderful experience for dog lovers and non dog lovers alike here at Westonbirt Arboretum. For this reason, the Old Arboretum is a dog free zone, and so those who are a little nervous of dogs can enjoy their walks in this area. Be aware though that dogs are permitted off the lead in Silk Wood (as long as they are kept under control), and allowed on the downs whilst on the lead. If you ask our friendly staff at the Welcome Building they will be able to point you in the right direction into the Old Arboretum. We look forward to seeing you soon and hope you enjoy your visit to us.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Westonbirt is a wonderful place. We have been members for 12 years and have very much enjoyed walking our dogs in Silk Wood. However, we are unlikely to renew our membership this year due to all the changes. Silk Wood was always completely accessible to dog walkers, but now with the Skywalk and numerous trails, it is very difficult to walk your dog off lead when there are picnics and children on bikes/scooters everywhere. I appreciate the changes have probably attracted more visitors and that times change, but what a shame for the core groups of members who have supported Westonbirt for a number of years. What once was a beautiful, peaceful and rugged place now just feel very commercial.

Anonymous, 6/Jun/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your comments. We appreciate that there have been many changes in recent years, and that our long term members have felt these changes the most. Please be assured that all changes have been planned with great care and with the utmost respect for the landscape. We feel that the Walkway provides an excellent visitor experience for all, providing stunning views and the chance to learn more about the many rare trees we have here. It has also improved access into Silk Wood for our visitors with mobility scooters. We work hard to ensure that the Arboretum continues to provide a place where people can escape to the peace and tranquility of the woods. There are 17 miles of pathway on site, ensuring that people can always find a quiet spot, and during the summer, members are welcome to stay onsite until 8pm, when the site is less busy.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I've been a member for many years, primarily for some peaceful dog walking in lovely surroundings. As such I probably visit 4 times a week during the lighter months. There's been a lot of changes through the years, mostly for the better, however there are a couple of comments I would raise:

1. Re the complaints about dogs. If you ever banned them or demanded leads in Silk Wood you'd lose *a lot* of members. The non dog owning public already have a dog-free half of the arboretum to enjoy - if they want to enjoy Silk Wood as well they should man-up and deal with dogs....just as I have to man up and deal with people's children.

2. Allowing bikes and scooters was a very, very bad idea in my view. The result on a busy summer weekend is a lot of young children whizzing along the paths at speed and I've witnessed less nimble walkers get crashed into. There's simply no need for it - they have young legs, use them!

3. I would be very saddened if the 'wild woods' part of Silk Wood ever became gentrified. Over the years I've seen it cut back more and more to make way for sanitised glades and, whilst they are nice, there is a beauty to the more untamed woodland environment - plus it attracts more wildlife. My particular favourite is the boundary woodland path that many occasional visitors don't discover - I think of it as the 'secret' of locals and it's lovely. Please never lose it!

Emma, 31/May/2017

I've been a member at Westonburt for longer than I care to remember, I've spent so many happy days here with my children, who are now young adults, enjoying all that you've had to offer over the years.

Once they got older and no longer wanted to visit as often I got a dog so I could still visit regularly and enjoy the wonderful surroundings that really are my 'Happy Place.'

I did miss the side of the Arboretum that I was so familiar with and all the little benches, Lime Avenue and all the little picnic spots that I'd loved for years but was happy to go and explore Silkwood side more as I had not spent so much time there.

I've been happy doing this for the last 5 years and so has my dog.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of the new bridge and the Childress trails it now so much harder having a walk with your dog without the disruption of parents expecting you to put your dog on a lead every time you walk past a child. Also looking at you like you shouldn't be there! In years past if families walked in Silkwood they knew that there would be dogs there just as I did for all those years.

I feel that to make things fair with everyone, especially people like me who have supported you for over 20 years that consideration should be made on letting dogs use the whole Arboretum whether dogs are on or off the lead or maybe offer a discounted membership.

I will for this reason not be renewing my membership next year unless this is done.

Very sad member , 10/May/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. At Westonbirt, we work hard to ensure that dog owners and non-dog owners alike are able to enjoy the arboretum and all it has to offer. For this reason we keep the Silk Wood a dog friendly, while asking that the Old Arboretum remain a dog free zone. Please rest assured that you are still very welcome to take well behaved dogs into the Silk Wood area.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

This really is a gorgeous place but there is always room for improvement -

1. Myself and my partner have been members here for over 5 years and for some reason they keep issuing paper membership cards that literally fall apart after about a month's use. It would be more economical and cheaper for you to issue plastic cards or keyring cards similar to supermarket cards, that were valid for say 3 - 5 years, and if someone does not renew after a year, the card simply declines entry. I would also pay extra for the card to be made and I'm sure many would.

2. It is not clear whether members can still access the arboretum after the official times. As in the past it used to be open until around 8 or 8 PM in the summer months which was lovely.

3. I think the events at Westonbirt are a great idea, but I think you should still have events where classical music can be enjoyed or something for families. These events have been held here in the past and were excellent.

Sadly we will not be renewing our memberships as in the past 3 years we have had to have over 5 replacement cards due to them falling apart or fading away (where the barcode is printed directly onto the paper and there is no lamination) With all the money that Westonbirt makes, it would be nice to see the small things taken care of.

Anonymous, 9/May/2017

Thanks for sending us your review and your suggestions for improvement. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to offer plastic cards to Friends of Westonbirt members. This is because the barriers at the Welcome Building are unable to scan-read a plastic card. We will replace all damaged cards free of charge. Members are still able to access the arboretum until 8pm during the summer months. Our events team works to ensure that we have a wide range of different activities onsite throughout the year, from pop concerts, to family arts and craft events in the holidays, 10k runs and much more. We will soon be looking at our events schedule for next year and will certainly take your suggestion of another classical concert on-board.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I still like Westonbirt but am not alone in trying to avoid visiting during school holidays or on event days as I much prefer tranquillity, a commodity which the Forestry Commission seems not to be the only body making it an increasingly distant memory. Extra car parking was much needed and I guess it had to be further away from the facilities. As I get older this has become noticeably more of a trudge. I am rather underwhelmed by the elevated walkway and struggle to see it worth the expense. Could not some money have been spared to bring back the covered seating cabins with even another couple added. It was always nice to sit in the shade, or out of the wind or on a bench less likely to be splattered with bird droppings. Does the FC fancy introducing an area or two at Westonbirt with a minimum age requirement for access? After all, the number of wrinklies is supposed to be growing!

David, 4/May/2017

Thanks for sending us your review. We understand that many of our visitors love Westonbirt because it provides a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and we work to protect this tranquility. For this reason we have over 17 miles of pathway onsite, ensuring that at peak times it is still possible to find a quiet place to escape to. We are always looking for ways to improve and so have passed on your request to the team.

Forestry Commission Response

Visited for the first time this weekend as we are not from this area. Absolutely shocked at the 10 per head entry price which was not advertised anywhere we could see before entering. Park was not at all busy and this is probably why. Whilst it is very nice, can't say I enjoyed it any more than Sherwood Forest, for example, which only charges 3 for your car and that is it.

Anonymous, 1/May/2017

Thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. In order to provide all our visitors with a great experience and to continue to care for the many remarkable and rare trees we have here, we do charge a £10 entrance fee. We are completely not-for-profit and all fees go into caring for the nation's trees and forests. We try to ensure we provide excellent value for money by having a range of activities (guided walks, Birt's I-Spy adventure, family events in the school holidays, seasonal trails) completely free after entry, as well as features such as the STIHL TreeTop Walkway.

Forestry Commission Response
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