Archive for the ‘Treefest’ Category

Going out with a bang for the final Treefest…

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

This August will see us present what will be the last year of Treefest here at Westonbirt.

Treefest event
The event has had – in various guises and under various names – a fantastic run of 22 years and we’d like to thank all exhibitors, visitors, volunteers and staff that have contributed to the event over the years and who have helped create so many special memories.

Whilst we have worked hard for Treefest to remain competitive in the August Bank Holiday market, the weather and visitor numbers are very unpredictable and visitor numbers have been, on the whole, declining for the last five years and particularly poor for the last two.

Although the event has always been great fun, with over 100 exhibitors Treefest is a complex and time consuming event to deliver. We are going to refocus the resources used to deliver Treefest on ensuring that we can better highlight the many other activities happening throughout the year and provide better customer service to all our visitors.

Although Treefest will not be replaced by another big Bank Holiday event, we’ll still have all of our walks, family events, seasonal trails and workshops for you to enjoy, along with the festive spectacle of Enchanted Christmas, which continues to increase in popularity.

We know that you may have questions about our decision – after two decades the event is fondly regarded by many of you. If you would like to get more detail on any aspect of our decision or our future plans, contact and your email will be passed onto the relevant person within the team.

Treefest’s last year will be a celebration of the event and the people who have made it so special. We’ll still have over 100 exhibitors, delicious food and exciting new music along with fabulous woodcarving in the heart of the Old Arboretum, fantastic activities for families and the spectacular TIMBERSPORTS® show from event sponsors, STIHL.

Find out more about the event:

Andrew Smith, Arboretum Director

Last year’s award-winning exhibitors are returning – must be Treefest!

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Every year we give awards to a handful of Treefest exhibitors who represent high standards of sustainability, creativity and generally bring something special to Treefest. It’s always a tough choice, but great fun to meet all of our wonderful exhibitors and find out more about what they’ve got to offer. Each of the winners gets a certificate to show off in their stand as well as a lovely Westonbirt Maple tree.

Here’s a round-up of 2014’s winners. We are pleased to say that all of these exhibitors are returning this year, and I will be checking that their trees are still growing!

Best promotion of sustainable tree or wood product
Whiskey Barrel Rockers
This will be Robbie’s third year at Treefest and you can find him on Maple Avenue this year. He sells beautiful garden and patio furniture which is handmade in Scotland from decommissioned whiskey barrels.

Whiskey Barrel Rockers

Most inspiring and original use of wood
Ian Sanders
Ian has been exhibiting at Treefest for many years. You’ll find him on Acer Avenue this year. Ian makes the most amazing tables which you can see him hand carving throughout event.

Ian Sanders

Best promotion of sustainable food source
Dick Willows Cider
Returning again this year within the Love Food Festival area is Dick Willows. Richard sells traditional, organic cider which is locally made.

Dick Willows 

Best Overall Exhibitor
Yew Turn
Ralph and Elke have been exhibiting at Treefest for 20 years and you will find them in the same spot that they have every year, on the corner of Maple Avenue A. Each year they have nonstop woodturning demonstrations. They also display high quality turnery and slate ware which are decorative yet functional, showing real warmth and beauty.

Yew Turn

Julie McKellar, Events Co-ordinator

Fiery Focosa pizza at Love Food Festival – must be Treefest!

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Love Food Festival first came to Treefest in 2013 and in 2014 they were given their own avenue on the festival site. It was such a great hit they are now a permanent feature at Treefest.

The Love Food Festival area at Treefest

With their handpicked market stalls of local producers, there will be lots of exciting food to take home with you. Some will even be cooking and selling some mouth watering food throughout the day for you to eat, including delicious Portuguese pastries, gooey, chocolatey American-style brownies, burgers using locally sourced and free range meats, pizza cooked in wood-fired ovens, artisan tray-bakes, Polish recipe doughnuts and delicious preserves and chutneys.

I have selected a few below, but for the whole selection of producers and to find out more, go to the Love Food Festival website.

Lorraine is back again this year with her “Farmhouse Kitchen”. Vowley Farm has always been a firm favourite with our festival-goers. They are local farm selling locally produced meats and this year they will be cooking an all-day farmhouse breakfast with homemade baked beans and gourmet sausages and bacon – there is also a vegetarian option. At lunchtime you can get their very popular brunch burger, but be quick, they sold out last year. In the afternoon, why not try some homemade cakes with a cup of tea or coffee? I’ll definitely be there.

Lorraine of Vowley Farm

Foodstation Wales have been coming to Treefest for at least seven years, selling their Mediterranean delicacies and antipasti such as olives, pickles, Turkish delight, flavoured nuts and Greek cakes. Now this is one of my favourite stalls and I challenge anyone to walk past without buying something!

Just Wood Fired are new to Treefest this year. They specialise in pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens, from traditional favourites such as margherita and pepperoni to more specialised pizzas like their focosa which is fiery, hot and not for the faint-hearted! Or why not choose your own toppings and name it yourself – the choice is yours!

Julie McKellar, Events Co-ordinator

Fire-cracker gourmet burgers… must be Treefest!

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Every year when we look for caterers for Treefest, we try to find something that will please all of our festival goers. This year several of our popular, tried and tested caterers will return to the festival. You can find them in the main picnic area, next to our music marquee – sit down and relax with some delicious food and listen to the live local music. What could be better?

Hog roast

This year, Martin and Tracy of MDB Catering have made some changes to their menu. In addition to their ever-popular hog roast they will be serving an all new selection of mouth-watering gourmet burgers.


The new gourmet burger menu ranges from a classic cheese burger, a burger with bacon, and for those who dare, the FIRE CRACKER which includes jalapenos and gherkins. They will also be serving local wild boar burgers with cheese.

For vegetarians, there will be delicious baked potatoes and baguettes with mouth-watering fillings!

Strawberry Chariot

The Strawberry Chariot will also return to Treefest, selling strawberries with fresh cream and cream teas. They even make their own strawberry jam. Yummy!

For those who like something cold, Winstones Ice Cream will be selling various flavours throughout the festival. All of their ice creams are made using organic milk.

Stroud BreweryPump-clip-WEB

Last but not least we have Stroud Brewery in the music marquee and the picnic area. They will be bringing their delicious local ales and lagers as well as a special Treefest Arboretum Ale – give it a try!

We’re also working with Bristol-based Love Food Festival to bring an array of local producers and street food to Treefest once again – a wonderful addition to our own long-standing favourites. Look out for a Love Food update soon!

Julie McKellar, Events Co-ordinator

Handpicked market stalls with Love Food Festival… must be Treefest!

Monday, August 11th, 2014


This year, Love Food Festival will be taking over most of Maple Avenue. With their handpicked market stalls of local producers, there will be lots of exciting food to take home with you and some will be cooking and selling some mouth watering food throughout the day for you to eat, from barbecued ribs to vegetarian tapas and Portuguese pastries. More details about this years producers can be found on the Love Food Festival website. 
We have some new and exciting caterers this year as well as some happy returners!

Over in the picnic area we will have Martin and Tracy of MDB Catering. They will be bringing their very popular hog roast, plus baked potatoes and baguettes with various fillings.

Peradon Farm has moved out of the Foodhall and into the picnic area this year with their organic burgers and sausages in delicious fresh baps. 

Peradon Organic Farm- credit Paul Groom

New to Treefest is The Strawberry Chariot, selling cream teas and strawberries with fresh cream. Yummy! 

Strawberry Chariot

Also new to Treefest is a local company, Café Chameleon who will mainly be serving vegetarian world food, such as African, Mexican and Indian.

For those who like something cold, Winstones Ice-Cream who are local to us, will be selling various flavours throughout the festival. These are all made using organic milk.
Last but not least we have Stroud Brewery in the music marquee and picnic area. They will have various local ales and lagers on offer.

Stroud Brewery3- credit Paul Groom

Julie McKellar
Events Co-ordinator


Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Simon Hough, Recreation Manager

Treefest - Westonbirt at Work

One of the great joys of Westonbirt is the year-round cycle of work that goes into making the tree collection such a vibrant place.

Our signature summer event, Treefest (Saturday 23 August – Monday 25 August 2014), is very much aimed at showing some of the variety of this ‘behind the scenes’ work including many traditional crafts and skills such as coppice working, charcoal production and furniture making.

This year at Treefest we are giving special emphasis to these craftspeople and the incredibly important work they do at Westonbirt in maintaining the woodland ecosystem and the local green economy, as well as the value for visitors of much of Silk Wood.

In the ‘Westonbirt at Work’ area, you will be able to see freshly felled timber being processed by steam-powered and modern day sawmills, before it goes on to be made into tool handles, furniture, charcoal – which in turn will be used by a blacksmith. You can also see traditional hurdle and shingle making which are still in great demand today on many structures, such as our own Silk Wood Barn.

Our volunteers will be providing guided walks of this area to showcase the demonstrations and meet the many people who, at least in part, derive a living from keeping these ancient skills alive and helping to look after and support Westonbirt.

Together with these demonstrations will be our learning team who will be providing many fun family activities,  alongside den building and tree climbing master classes for budding young arborists!

You will even be able to buy some of our home-grown exotic timber from the Westonbirt wood sales, run by our volunteers, should you be inspired to ‘have a go’ at some of these crafts at home.

This is just one part of the less commercial and more educational aspects of our signature Treefest event, which takes a lot of planning and co-ordination year round to come together every August bank holiday weekend.

All of these less commercial aspects are what make Treefest so special and what makes us so proud of it.
Friends members will pay half price to attend the event and of course children go free at Treefest as they do at Westonbirt from 23 July to 31 August 2014.

This means that a theoretical Friends’ members’ family of two adults and two children will get access to the Treefest event for the whole day for £15, as opposed to £30 for non-Friends members.

Friends’ members who want to access the arboretum over the August Bank Holiday weekend will still be able to visit Silk Wood through the new Welcome Building, where refreshments and toilets will also be found.

The Old Arboretum, restaurant, shop and Exploratree play area will be within the Treefest site and unavailable to those not attending the event for these three days.

The Plant Centre will trade as normal during the event and access to it should be unaffected.

We hope you will want to come along and join in the fun this August in whatever capacity, as Westonbirt is the perfect summer’s day out for all the family.

For more information about Treefest, please visit

Final Treefest carvings revealed!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013


Over the course of the three day Treefest extravaganza we have had three expert carvers working on site to produce magical storytelling chairs for three local schools.

The Owl and the Pussycat, created by Dave LucasThe Owl and the Pussycat, created by Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas’ ‘Owl and The Pussycat’ chair is being donated to Coln House School to have in their new outdoor sensory area.

 Little Bo Peep by Raymond Wirick

Raymond Wirick has created a ‘Bo Peep’ storytelling chair which is going to Lyneham Primary School  to be put in their outdoor area for children of service personnel that are serving overseas.

'Storybooks' sculpture by Steve Griffin

The ‘Storybooks’ chair created by Steve Griffin will be donated to St Mary’s School in Tetbury for their outdoor area next to their new library.

For more information on what Treefest is about please visit our website

600 metres marked out…it must be Treefest!

Friday, August 16th, 2013

By Julie McKellar, Events Co-ordinator

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 12 months since Treefest last August and now we are only one week away from this year’s festival!  

We have been busy marking out the Downs over the last 3 days, totalling just over 600m and getting it ready for when the exhibitors arrive next Friday to set up.  If your driving past next Monday (19th) look out for our lovely festival flags out on the roadside!

Crowds at Treefest

This year we have 111 exhibitors booked in, and excitingly 38 new exhibitors joining us.  Our regular exhibitors have been coming to us for years and tell us that this is their favourite event of the year.  A big thank you to them for their continuous support.

Axe Men

Another exciting bit of news is that we have the Axe Men of Mid Wales joining Treefest 2013 and will be giving us two arena demonstrations each day.  They are really popular so we are thrilled to have them at the festival this year!

Love Food Festival Logo

On the food front we have Love food Festival helping us to fill the Foodhall with delicious local producers and we have some fantastic things in store for you.   Olives, Cheese, Fudge, Wine, Organic Meat, Cider, Sauces, Chutneys, Chocolate, Cake, and that is just some of what’s on offer this year!  Come and see the wonderful produce for yourself!

Exotic Tagine

We also have some new caterers this year!  MDB Catering are back with their Hog Roast and we have baked potatoes, baguettes, Exotic Tagine, Big Pan Paella, Bath Organic Farm, Churros Garcia, Winstones Ice-Cream and Stroud Brewery. There is something for everybody!

For more information on all the things happening at Treefest 2013 please visit our website.

Local and live at Treefest, by Jon Ponting, 4014 Project.

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

If you’re looking for local acts, this is the festival for you! Westonbirt Arboretum works with The 4014 Project to bring music to Treefest because of their unrivalled knowledge of the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire music scene.

Treefest music 2012

Out of the 29 acts featuring at Treefest in 2013, 11 are from Gloucestershire, 10 from Swindon and Wiltshire, and 4 from Bristol and Somerset.

Our evening headliners this year are the award winning Roving Crows and up-and-coming Swindon-based trad/folk/rock four piece Missin’ Rosie.

Our lunchtime headliners this year are the most dapper fellows of foot-stomping folk, Frankie the Gambler, and the well-respected Devon songstress, Nicky Swann.

We’ve got some amazing acts playing this year, including:

·         The Roving Crows – winners of Best Celtic Rock Band and Best Fiddle Player at the Irish Music Awards 2011

·         Pete Taylor – Dursley based songwriter who is a master of the loopstation, meaning he can beatbox, play lead and backing guitar, plus several harmonies, and loop them live to make a fluid song

·         Ben Maggs – songwriter from Cirencester… “Let’s get this right. If I heard that being played in the top 10 it wouldn’t be a surprise. Absolutely fantastic.” Paul Moss (BBC Introducing) Re: ‘Home, My Love’ played on BBC Introducing – June 2012

·         Ethemia (Berny Poulton and Michaela Mott) acoustic duo from Gloucestershire who’ve been busy playing across the country in the last year, making friends and gaining fans wherever they go. Winners of the Best Hugs award by Swindon 105.5’s The Late Show!

·         Lonely Tourist – A Bristol based Glaswegian who’s original tunes have been heard on BBC 6Music on more than one occasion! Very happy that he’s making a return to our festival.

As well as the music we’ve got singing, songwriting and drumming workshops planned for the weekend.

Here’s the full 2013 Treefest live music line-up: Click on the artists for more information.

The Big Top is up! Nearly time for Treefest! by Julie McKellar, Events Co-ordinator

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

I can’t believe it, after 12 months of working on Treefest, we are now only 4 days away.

Treefest site taking shape
It always gets more exciting when marquees start to appear, and that happened on Monday when the Food Hall and indoor craft marquees were put up, and now Cherry, Maple and Redwood Avenues are all up, in the lovely blue and white stripes.

Yesterday the Big Top arrived and it’s nearly finished. I don’t think I’ve ever stood in such a large tent, it’s going to be amazing in there listening to the bands and sipping a cold beer, pity I’m working!  

The tipee has just arrived for the children’s story telling and puppetry in the Family Theatre, and the helter skelter is half built. Tomorrow the carousel will arrive. There is a real buzz in the air every time I walk out onto the site.

But there is still lots to do. All the festival flags need to go up and I’ve lost count how many we have. We already have some up on the roadside, which look very cheerful as you drive past the arboretum.

The food hall is now very full with 4 more exhibitors coming on board recently:

Bee Mercy who are providers of raw honey. A range of rich tasting raw honey containing all the natural health giving qualities.

Cotswold Gold who produce Extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil which is grown and produced on the farm in the Cotswolds. 

Their oil has been used on stage by lots of celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver, James Martin and Raymond Blanc to name but a few. Also Raymond Blanc now uses this oil at his cooking school, must be good stuff! 

In July of this year, they won “Best Food Producer” in the Cotswold Life Food and Drinks Award.

The Spice Trail is passionate about quality herbs and spices.

They stock nearly 100 different types and this is increasing all the time, if you want it and they don’t have it they will try and source it for you.

Their herbs and spices originate from all corners of the globe from Cheshire to China, Germany to Guatemala, Canada to Croatia and not forgetting of course India, the Spice Capital of the world!!

The Kooky Kitchen produces quirky cookies and bakes with strange shapes and lots of different tastes. They will also be serving Vietnamese coffee on ice.  That’s were I’m taking my coffee break!

Useful links
Visit the Treefest website for more info:

Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum go free to Treefest.
Find out how to become a member…