Guardians of a protected landscape
You wouldn’t intentionally park your car on a protected landscape, but until now, you have been.
Our current car park has been located within an historical area of Grade I registered landscape.
A priority of the Project is the construction of a new car park away from this area, which is an important ecological habitat comprising a sweep of meadow from the Old Arboretum and a limestone slope descending to Silk Wood.
Work is underway!
Work has begun. We are restoring the Downs starting with the removal of footpaths that are no longer required. This will then be followed by the removal of the current car park.
The restoration of the Downs has two main elements: clearance and regeneration. Research has already taken place to assess the soil and grass types that should be here.
The car park has been relocated to a less landscape-sensitive location which will also allow for the removal of the intrusive access road and associated shrubbery.
We'll then reinstate natural grassland to the area, using indigenous seed sourced sustainably from Westonbirt’s existing grassland.
15,000 trees are just the beginning…
The arboretum is more than just trees – it is also full of species rich habitats, home to a number of rare and endangered species of birds, bats and invertebrates.
Westonbirt’s conservation work is about both preserving the tree collection for future generations and protecting these habitats.
Management and conservation techniques including coppicing in Silk Wood, careful forest management planning and the grazing of cattle on our grasslands ensure that the fragile balance of habitats is maintained and enhanced for the wide range of rare flora and fauna that can be found here.
At a glance
Over 1.5 acres (6000sqm) of landscape returned to rare, species-rich grassland
246 species of flora recorded on the grassland area of the downs – 8.1% of the total UK species
A landscape returned to how the arboretum’s creator, Robert Holford, would have envisaged it.
What's happening now
Sophie Nash, Project Manager, keeps us up-to-date with developments on the blog...