The Essential Membership Guide to Membership

 The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity working alongside the Forestry Commission to help preserve this unique landscape.  

 The following FAQs are to help you make the most of your membership and also understand the unique relationship we share with the Forestry Commission. Staff and volunteers on site are here to ensure you have a wonderful experience, therefore please ask at the Welcome Building if you need any further information or assistance.

If you have any queries regarding your membership, please email the Membership Team at The office is open 9-5 Monday-Friday only.


While on site at Westonbirt Arboretum or reciprocal gardens, please act responsibly and respectfully to staff, volunteers and members of the public at all times. Heed all Forestry Commission notices and the instructions of staff, especially during busy events, for your own and others’ safety.

 Do I need my membership card when I visit the arboretum?

The Forestry Commission allow members free entry to the arboretum with a valid membership card, so please check you have your card before you visit.  Each card is for the named member only and is not transferable. Failure to bring your card may result in an admission charge that is not refundable. Please report lost cards to the Membership Office immediately. 

 You are only eligible for free entry to reciprocal gardens with your card, therefore please ensure it is with you before you visit and check entry policies before visiting. The Friends cannot facilitate entry on your behalf if you do not have your card. 

 How do I replace my lost/damaged card?

We are happy to replace membership cards, just contact the Membership Team and we will send you a replacement.  If you wish to contribute towards the cost of this replacement, please leave a donation in the box at the Welcome Building or send a cheque payable to FOWA with a covering letter letting us know your membership number if possible, the full name and address of the person whose card is lost.  A replacement card will then be mailed to you. If you plan to visit the arboretum before the card arrives always contact the Membership Team in the first instance. We may be able to arrange entry, but cannot guarantee this during busy periods. 

Members with disabilities

If a carer is required for a member with disabilities, please declare this to the Admission staff when you arrive.  Free entry for the carer is at the discretion of the Forestry Commission.  When visiting a reciprocal garden, please check their policies regarding entry before your visit. Your subscription fee helps the Friends to provide free electric scooters and wheelchairs. Contact the Welcome Building on 0300 067 4861 for bookingsDuring busy periods pre-booking is essential.

What if I bring a friend with me?

Your membership card is non-transferable and only for the named member, therefore if you bring a friend who is not a member they would be required to pay for entry.  If they then wish to become a Friend themselves, they should visit the Information Desk at the Welcome Building before 4pm.  If they decide to pay by Direct Debit they can deduct the cost of their entry from the subscription fee with their valid admission receipt. Deductions only apply to the corresponding membership purchased and the admission receipts are only valid if used within one week of entry.

Can I take my children free to the reciprocal gardens listed? 

Our membership cards are for the named adults only. At Westonbirt the Forestry Commission allow members to bring in children or grandchildren aged 18 years and under, but this may be different at other gardens. Some gardens may have restrictions in place during certain periods.  Please contact the gardens before you visit and check their entrance policies to ensure you have an enjoyable visit.

I need to update my details 

Please forward any change of details; address, name or bank details, to us in writing making sure to include your name, card number (under the barcode) and your full postal address (old and new if changing your address). We are unable to accept telephone voicemail messages.

What is the best way to renew my membership subscription? 

Approximately one month before your membership card expires we will write to you inviting you to renew your membership.  You may send this renewal letter back in the post with your cheque payable to FOWA, or preferably by continual Direct Debit in which case you do not need to include any other payment. You can also renew online, paying by card or Direct Debit, at www.fowa.org.uk. Alternatively, go to the Information Desk at the Welcome Building, but please remember to take your renewal letter with you.  We cannot renew membership cards before the month of expiry, nor take payments over the telephone. 

If you currently have a concession rate membership, please ensure you renew before the expiry date to retain this discount.  Please complete the Direct Debit or send a cheque payable to FOWA and post to us to arrive before your subscription is due.  If you prefer to pay at the Welcome Building, your concession rate is only available with your renewal letter.

We aim to process your application within 21 days.  If your cards have not arrived within that time, please contact the Membership Team.

What are the benefits of paying by Direct Debit? 

Paying continually by Direct Debit is the most efficient and secure way to pay.  It is so much easier if you currently have a concession membership as the renewal will be automatic.  A new card will be sent to you about three weeks before your old card expires giving you ample time to make any changes before your payment is taken from your bank just prior to the start of your new subscription.  The claim date will be notified to you in your letter with your card(s).

Why do you want me to sign up for Gift Aid? 

If you are a UK taxpayer we can reclaim 25p in every £1 of your subscription fee from the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This gives us around £150,000 a year to put back into the arboretum at no extra expense to you, so if you are able to sign the Gift Aid form – please do!

If I gift a membership, who will get the renewal letter? 

As the donor and payer of the membership we will send all renewal information to you. Membership cards are usually posted directly to the giftee informing them that this gift is from you, unless you request otherwise.  For gifts paid by Direct Debit the membership cards will automatically be sent to you the donor, three weeks before expiry, so it is important that you keep us up to date regarding your contact details and inform us as soon as possible of any changes to the gifted membership.

 Do Friends get entry to Westonbirt events? 

Friends are given free entry to the arboretum throughout the year. However, when special events are held by the Forestry Commission there may be restrictions in placeEntry to events is stipulated by the Forestry Commission and any concessions for Friends are advertised in advance on the website and in the Westonbirt Magazine.  Please ensure we have your current email address for early notification via e-news of all news and events at Westonbirt Arboretum.  All personal details given remain on site and will not be passed to any third party.

How do I cancel my membership? 

Cancellations should be received in writing either by post or email. Please include your membership or card number and full name and postal address in any correspondence. If you are a Direct Debit payer please advise us as soon as possible so that we can stop your next payment and the automatic printing and mailing of new membership cards.  You may cancel by telephone, but please do not leave voicemail.

Please note – if you wish to cancel your membership before the expiry date, we are unable to offer refunds for the months that are unused. Likewise refunds cannot be given for any unused membership.

Opting in for communications

 From May 2018 all direct mailing communications by email, which are not directly related to your membership, will require your permission.  Your details are never sold or passed onto a third party except for the Westonbirt Magazine distribution, therefore, if you are happy to receive information about Forestry Commission events, our latest fundraising appeals, volunteering or any other activities, please contact us.  You can withdraw this permission whenever you wish.

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The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a charity. Gift Aid allows us to reclaim 25p for every £1 you give us if you are a UK taxpayer. Find out more...