The Westonbirt Project

What is the Westonbirt Project?

The Westonbirt Project was a programme of capital works and activities undertaken with the aim of delivering the best possible visit to Westonbirt for visitors – making sure they arrive and are welcomed in a pleasant and relaxed way and go on to get a good understanding of the heritage of the arboretum and the importance of its world-class tree collection.

What did you do?

  • Welcome Building and visitor car park (opened June 2014)
  • Downs restoration: a long-term project to restore the area and carry out ongoing flora and fauna surveys
  • STIHL Treetop Walkway (opened April 2016)
  • Wolfson Tree Management Centre (opened April 2016)

Please visit the what we built page to find out more about each part of the project.

What else are you doing?

With ongoing Heritage Lottery Funding, our Community Team are continuing their work with a variety of groups to develop a range of activities to engage young people and adults at risk of exclusion. We also continue to work on the restoration of Westonbirt’s historic boundaries.

Please visit the ongoing work page to find out more about these parts of the project.

When did it all happen?

Work started on the construction phases of the project in 2011, with the final elements being completed in spring 2016.

Work on restoring the arboretum’s historic boundaries is ongoing, along with downs restoration work such as flora and fauna surveys.

Our Community Team’s work will continue until December 2017 with Heritage Lottery Fund support.

Please visit the story of the project blog to find out more.

How much did it cost?

The Project was delivered in two phases. The first phase, which includes the work of the Community Team and the boundary restoration, along with the Welcome Building and car park, cost £4.3 million (of which £1.9 million was contributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund). The second phase, which comprises the STIHL Treetop Walkway and Wolfson Tree Management Centre, cost £2.4 million. In total the project cost £6.7 million.

How was it paid for?

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Forestry Commission, Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award, Wolfson Foundation, Gloucestershire Environment Trust, STIHL and many other trusts and foundations and individual givers have helped support the project.

Please visit the funding page for information about project funding.

What difference has it made?

Welcome Building, car park and associated downland restoration (opened June 2014)

  • Provides an excellent welcome experience for visitors
  • Enables a greater understanding of trees and the arboretum through interpretative features
  • Allows Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members to be fast-tracked through admissions
  • Improves upon the previous ‘pay-in-car’ system and some of the long traffic queues associated with this
  • Facilitating the restoration of the Grade I registered grassland landscape by putting an end to cars encroaching upon this area
  • Creating more disabled parking in close proximity to our free mobility scooters.

Wolfson Tree Management Centre (opened April 2016)

  • Appropriate facilities for the Tree Team and their equipment
  • Improved and more efficient working practices
  • Better environmental standards to protect local watercourses
  • Opportunities for visitors to learn more about the work the Tree Team does, see their tools up close and watch the team at work.

STIHL Treetop Walkway (opened April 2016)

  • Improve access by enabling entry into Silk Wood on a gentle incline
  • Create a year round focal point for visitors to secure a long term and sustainable future for Westonbirt
  • Enhance visitors’ experience and understanding of trees and the arboretum.

I’ve got more questions…

Please contact us! Email or call 0300 067 7890.

How it happened...

Sophie Nash, Project Manager

Read the story of the Westonbirt Project on the blog...