Westonbirt Project: what we built

Welcome Building and car park

The Biffa Award Welcome Building is the main entry point into the arboretum, providing a warm welcome and giving visitors the best possible experience at the start of their visit – it’s a place for visitors to orientate themselves at the start of their visit, within close proximity to the STIHL Treetop Walkway.

There is also the opportunity to find out more about trees and the arboretum in the Christopher Mitchell Information Centre and to download the TreeQuests mobile app which was created as part of the project.

The Welcome Building enables us to fast track members through admissions and, for all other visitors, represents a vast improvement on the previous ‘pay-in-car’ system and some of the long traffic queues associated with this.

The car park has enabled us to put a stop to cars encroaching on the Grade I registered landscape – this has been restored to the species rich grassland it was always intended to be. In addition, the new car park provides more disabled parking in close proximity to our free mobility scooters.

Wolfson Tree Management Centre

The Wolfson Tree Management Centre is home to our Tree Team. Their previous facilities were tired and poorly laid out with equipment being kept outside and in different locations. They estimated they were spending two hours a day collecting vehicles and equipment.

The Tree Management Centre allows all of this equipment to be kept in one place, accompanied by proper drainage, a working yard and power wash area to make sure vehicles and machinery are well looked after. The machinery store is accompanied by a new mess building, space to dry equipment and chainsaw wear and meeting area for the team.

There is also an interpretation area for people to learn more about the work the Tree Team does, see their tools up close, play in the tyre tunnels and watch the team at work.

STIHL Treetop Walkway

Robert Holford designed the drives and rides carefully throughout the arboretum following the picturesque principles of variety, intricacy and connection. The STIHL Treetop Walkway adds an extra dimension – height – to his innovative vision for the arboretum. Visitors can now experience stunning new views and discover more about Westonbirt’s world-renowned collection of 15,000 trees from high above the ground.

There are seven interactive hotspots to give visitors of all ages the chance to get up-close with nature and learn more about the fascinating world of trees. The 300 metre route follows a serpentine path through the trees and along the contours of the site, into the leafy canopy.
The main walkway is step-free, making it accessible to visitors on foot, using mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs and to those with dogs on leads. It is 300 metres long and gradually rises on a gentle incline to a height of 13 metres.

How it happened...

Sophie Nash, Project Manager

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

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