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13/04/2021

Enjoy an active Autumn at Westonbirt Arboretum

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The Forestry Commission at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum has an array of activities to explore nature’s seasonal changes this autumn – from fungi walks and free guided tours to family crafts.

Family enjoying the natural play trail in autumn. Credit Rob Cousins/ Forestry Commission.

The season kicks off with Forest Discovery Day on Sunday 30 September. The education centre will host free seed planting and craft activities for families. Visitors can also explore the new Propagation Unit to find out how the tree team collect, grow and plant Westonbirt’s famous trees.

Popular family event Autumnal Highlights returns between 29 October and 2 November with activities discovering the exciting changes trees undergo during autumn.

Free guided tours will take place each Saturday and Sunday at 2pm until 28 October. Led by knowledgeable volunteer guides, the tours cover a variety of trees and routes. Sign up at the Great Oak Hall on your visit to take part.

The free autumn trail offers the chance to take in some of the seasonal highlights, as well as signposting some of the lesser known areas for autumn colour. Children can also seek out giant tree roots and other play items around the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood with the natural play trail. Pick up your free maps at admissions or the Great Oak Hall.

Arboretum Director, Simon Toomer, commented:

“Autumn at Westonbirt is known around the world and people travel from far and wide to witness the spectrum of colours produced by the tree collection.

“Our guided walks and activities will help people find out more about this fascinating season, whilst providing a great day out amongst the trees.”

The hard paths around the arboretum are accessible for electric buggies and manual wheelchairs, which can be borrowed free of charge from Visitor Services. Book in advance by calling 01666 881218.

To find out more about Westonbirt Arboretum and what’s on offer in autumn, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-autumn.

What’s on this autumn:

Guided tour with the Cotswold Fungus Group: The fungi at Westonbirt and their trees
Saturday 29 September
10.30am – 12.30pm and 2 – 4pm
Book on 01666 880220. An additional cost of £5 per adult and £2 per child is charged.

Bat Walk with the RSPB and Gloucestershire Bat Group
Saturday 29 September
5.45pm
Discover Westonbirt’s elusive and fascinating bat population. Use bat detectors (provided) and explore Silk Wood (for approx 2 hours) to watch and hear these incredible creatures.
Booking essential – £5 per person. Tickets available by contacting Amy Martin – [email protected] or 07747618141. Please book well in advance as spaces are limited, wear sturdy footwear and bring a torch. For more information email [email protected].

Forest Discovery Day
Sunday 30 September
10am – 3pm
Join in this celebration of woods and forests taking place across the country! Try seed planting, crafts and trails or take a tour of Westonbirt’s new Propagation Unit (11am and 2pm) to discover how we grow our next generation of trees and shrubs.
www.forestry.gov.uk/discoveryday
Activities will be free after admission.

Family event: Bat Discovery
Sunday 30 September
Bird Viewing Shelter, Old Arboretum
11am – 4pm
In celebration of Forest Discovery Day, the RSPB would like to invite you and your family to join in fun family crafts, all to do with bats! Make your own bat, discover amazing bat facts, and learn all about the bats that live here at Westonbirt. Activities will be free after admission.

Chair making course
Monday 1 – Saturday 6 October
£275 per place. Book via Paul Hayden on 01373 836051 or visit www.greenwoodcourses.co.uk.

Guided tour: Autumn fruits and berries
Saturday 6 October
11am – 1pm
Free after admission. Book via 01666 880220.

Songways singing day
Saturday 6 October
10am – 2pm
Great Oak Hall
£20 per place To book contact 07894 205255, [email protected] or visit www.songways.co.uk .

Bat Walk with the RSPB
Saturday 6 October
5.45pm
Discover Westonbirt’s elusive and fascinating bat population. Use bat detectors (provided) and explore Silk Wood (for approx 2 hours) to watch and hear these incredible creatures.
Booking essential – £5 per person. Tickets available by contacting Amy Martin – [email protected] or 07747618141. Please book well in advance as spaces are limited, wear sturdy footwear and bring a torch. For more information email [email protected].

Autumn wedding open day
Sunday 7 October
11am – 3pm
Great Oak Hall
Complimentary admission. For further details and to book your place contact [email protected], 01666 881215 or visit www.fowa.org.uk/venue_hire.

Chair making course
Monday 8 – Saturday 13 October
£275 per place. Book via Paul Hayden on 01373 836051 or visit www.greenwoodcourses.co.uk.

Art exhibition: Near and far – a nature trail, by Sue Townsend
Tuesday 9 – Sunday 14 October
10am – 4pm
Great Oak Hall
Free after admission. Further details from [email protected], 01666 505307 or visit www.suetownsendart.co.uk.

Beginners’ digital photography workshop
Monday 8 October
10.30am-3.30pm
£55 per place. Book via Graham Light on 01285 653069 www.abbeyphotoschool.co.uk

Advanced digital photography workshop
Friday 12 October
10.30am-3.30pm.
£105 per place. Book via Graham Light on 01285 653069 www.abbeyphotoschool.co.uk

Westonbirt wood sales
Saturday 13 October 10am-3pm
Sunday 14 October 10am-1pm
Call 01666 880220 or email [email protected] for more information.

Guided tour with the Cotswold Fungus Group: The fungi at Westonbirt and their trees
Saturday 27 October
10.30am – 12.30pm and 2 – 4pm
Book on 01666 880220. An additional cost of £5 per adult and £2 per child is charged.

Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum autumn craft fair
Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 October
10am – 4pm
Great Oak Hall
Free after admission. Further details from [email protected], 0117 956 4769 or visit www.fowa.org.uk/news_and_events.

Westonbirt photography workshops
Saturday 20, Sunday 21, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October
8.45am – 4.45pm
£125, maximum of 10 photographers with two tutors
Learn how to best capture Westonbirt on camera this autumn with landscape photographer Sarah Howard, author of ‘A Year in the Life of Westonbirt’. 10% Friends of Westonbirt discount.
To book, contact Sarah Howard at [email protected], telephone 07760 498 112 or visit www.imageseen.co.uk.

Family event: Feed the Birds with the RSPB event
Sunday 21 October
Bird Viewing Shelter, Old Arboretum
11am – 4pm
Join the RSPB in making apple bird feeders to take home. (Please bring your own apples if possible!). Activities free after admission.

Art exhibition: In the Mind’s Eye
Tuesday 23 – Sunday 28 October
10am – 4pm
Great Oak Hall
Free after admission. Further details from [email protected], 01531 650386 or visit www.fowa.org.uk/news_and_events.

Family event: Autumnal highlights
Monday 29 October – Friday 2 November
10:30am – 4pm
Free after admission. Activities take place in the education centre.

Image attached: Family enjoying the natural play trail in autumn. Credit Rob Cousins/ Forestry Commission.

1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 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 www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england

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 www.fowa.org.uk

Useful links:
www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-autumn
www.fowa.org.uk
www.forestry.gov.uk

Source: Westonbirt The National Arboretum

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