25/02/2015 - 1.9m raised for new view at the arboretum


The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum are celebrating reaching their 1.9 million fundraising target for Phase Two of the Westonbirt Project.

Artist's impression of the Tree Top Walkway at Westonbirt ArboretumSupported by donations from hundreds of individuals as well as companies, trusts and foundations, the second phase of the project which includes a Treetop Walkway and Tree Management Centre can now be realised.

The Friends led a two year- long fundraising campaign, supported by the Forestry Commission who manage Westonbirt Arboretum, to achieve the funds to bring these two significant projects to life.

Lorraine Jones, Fundraising Manager for the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum commented:

“We are so thrilled to have reached our target for public fundraising. This is a momentus occasion for Westonbirt and being able to make the Treetop Walkway and Wolfson Tree Management Centre a reality is fantastic.”

The Treetop Walkway will be a new, ‘never seen before’ perspective on the arboretum’s trees and landscape. The walkway will transport visitors 13m high into the canopy and give them the opportunity to learn more about trees and how they live.

The Wolfson Tree Management Centre will help Westonbirt’s expert tree team to manage the tree collection and is a huge step forward for the arboretum. It will mean the tree team can work more efficiently and so spend more time working out in the arboretum while visitors can also learn about how the collection is managed.

Construction work on the Tree Management Centre has begun thanks to a grant from the Wolfson Foundation, with work on the Treetop Walkway likely to begin in summer 2015.

For more information please contact Communications Manager, Emily Pryor on 01666 881207 or emily.pryor@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

1. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985 by a small group of volunteers. Today it raises money to help protect and preserve the arboretum, enhance public enjoyment and knowledge of this world renowned tree collection and secure its sustainable future. The charity raises funds through a membership scheme with over 27,000 Friends, fundraising activities and the hire of the Great Oak Hall.  The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity (no. 293190). More information at www.fowa.org.uk   

2. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to five national collections, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains nearly 15,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 27,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.

3. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk.

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

5. The Wolfson Foundation (www.wolfson.org.uk) is a charity that was established in 1955, and so this year celebrates its 60th anniversary. The Wolfson Foundation supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health & disability, education and the arts & humanities. All funding is based on expert peer review. Over £750 million (£1.2 billion in real terms) has been awarded in grants to some 10,000 projects over the last 60 years.

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