Archive for the ‘Events’ 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

Behind the scenes at Enchanted Christmas

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Last night we tested the lights on the Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail. It’s looking good and we can’t wait to open the gates on 27 November!

Tickets are available at Booking is advised to guarantee entry on any night of the event, and required on Saturday evenings due to exceptional demand.

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum credit Forestry Commission - Incense cedarEnchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum credit Forestry Commission - Victory GladeEnchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum credit Forestry Commission - Victory Glade

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

Christmas fundraising – a big thank you!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket, bid on a silent auction lot or who took part in the activities in the Great Oak Hall during Enchanted Christmas.

I hope you had as much fun as we did.

Thanks to you, we’ve raised over £4,000 to help support the arboretum.

For anyone who took part in the guess the number of lights on the trail competition, there were actually 22,189 lights. Well done to Oliver for guessing the closest.

We were particularly impressed by the amazing drawings that our younger visitors did for the children’s drawing competition. We could only have two winners but have included some of the drawings that we thought were particularly good.

Grace aged 8 and Camilla aged 6 were our winners – click on the first two images in our gallery to see their work. The gallery also includes some of the other lovely drawings entered into the competition:

Thank you also to all the amazing volunteers who helped and to Snowbusiness and Powerline for their help with the event and to Calcot Kitchens, Neil Carmichael MP, The Vine Tree, Highgove, Williams Automobiles, Kena and Sean Magee, Whatley Manor, Francois Bronn, Waitrose Malmesbury, Thomas of Malmesbury, The James Dyson Foundation, Paul Hayden from Greenwood Courses, Ballooning Network, David Ewins, The Dormy House Hotel, Margaret Headen, Bloomsbury Publishing, Jigsaw, Cotswold beauty, Tracklements, Whichford Pottery, Wentworth’s, Cheltenham Festivals, Henrietta’s House and The Bath Chorus for their generous support.

Lorraine Jones, Fundraising Manager, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

NEW! Giant undercover festive area… must be Enchanted Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

This year we have a (brand new!) giant marquee which will be an undercover area for food, drink, seating and browsing Christmas gifts. 

Under the marquee there will be lots of tasty treats including hog roast, burgers, hot dogs, baked potatoes, baguettes, mulled wine and hot chocolate, with or without Baileys. I like mine with Baileys and a great dollop of whipped cream… yum!

There will also be the children’s carousel and Westonbirt’s new Shepherds Hut, which will have beautiful Christmas decorations for sale, some of which are traditional wooden decorations from Germany.


So, if it’s raining on the night you come along – fear not, you can eat, shop and relax in the dry.

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