Archive for July, 2013

Finishing touches, by Sophie Nash, Project Officer

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Sophie Nash is Project Officer for the Westonbirt Project. She organises the logistics of the project, working with architects and project managers for various elements to deliver the works.

Footpath to Welcome Building with a base layer of bitmac ready for the final resin bound gravel layer. The row of pipes mark the locations of our new bicycle racks which will be installed in the next few days.

Footpath to Welcome Building with a base layer of bitmac ready for the final resin bound gravel layer. The row of pipes mark the locations of our new bicycle racks which will be installed in the next few days.

Some of the stone has been laid in the new parking bays.

Some of the stone has been laid in the new parking bays.

You can see piles of the Forest of Dean 'pink' stone which will be spread and compacted to form the parking bay final surface.

You can see piles of the Forest of Dean 'pink' stone which will be spread and compacted to form the parking bay final surface.

This stone is used elsewhere around the arboretum for footpaths and roads.

This stone is used elsewhere around the arboretum for footpaths and roads.

The footpaths from the Welcome Building and the new car park which will lead visitors to the Plant Centre.

The footpaths from the Welcome Building and the new car park which will lead visitors to the Plant Centre.

Part of our current entrance road is being widened to a two way road for staff and deliveries to use once the new car park is complete.

Part of our current entrance road is being widened to a two way road for staff and deliveries to use once the new car park is complete.

For more details about the Westonbirt Project, visit www.westonbirtproject.co.uk

Coach parks and footpaths – a project update by Sophie Nash

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Sophie Nash is Project Officer for the Westonbirt Project. She organises the logistics of the project, working with architects and project managers for various elements to deliver the works.

This is the new car park. All of its base course and bit maccing have been done and the majority of its wearing course - all in under a week!

This is the new car park. The Bitmac base has all been laid aswell as the majority of the wearing course - all in under a week!

This is the new coach park! It's nearly finished except for white lining and the surface on the footpath.

This is the new coach park! It's nearly finished except for white lining and the surfacing of the footpath.

The blue cross marks the spot for a tree location. We are planting over 100 of them on the project site!

The blue cross marks the spot for a tree location. We are planting over 100 of them in the new car park!

 

The new and nearly finished car park! The new and nearly finished car park!

                    The new and nearly finished car park!

Here is one of the main footpaths going to the Welcome Building.  It is ready for its base course and then it will have its resin bound gravel put on top. The welcome building will be on the right further down the path.

Here is one of the main footpaths going to the Welcome Building. It is ready for its base course and then it will have resin bound gravel as its final surface. The Welcome Building will be on the right further down the path.

For more details about the Westonbirt Project, visit www.westonbirtproject.co.uk

We are more than the trees; we are flowers, butterflies and bees. By Emily Pryor, Marketing Support Officer

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Yesterday was my second guided walk. A different topic this time and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend 2 hours in the sunshine than looking at wildflowers.

I am a total novice when it comes to flowers. In fact, as much as a novice as can possibly be. Cowslip, buttercups and a couple of grasses were as far as my knowledge stretched. That didn’t matter to me because I love flowers and so I took the opportunity to learn from the experts.

Again, the walk was hosted by our knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers. Angela led the group with all spaces taken and 24 people in tow, around Silk Wood to look at what Westonbirt has to offer with its wildflowers. 

After setting off through the downs, looking at various flowers like dandelions, silverweed, pineappleweed – Angela assures us there is a lot more than meets the eye to these plants we often dig out of our garden. From how dandelions help butterflies to some weeds that smell of pineapple and plants like red and white clover that are part of the pea family- fascinating.

Wildflowers in Silk Wood

We then ventured into the woodland to talk about nettles. A lot of us dislike them for either their nasty sting or their overpowering presence in our gardens, but unbeknown to me they are really important for insects like butterflies and in a previous life their fibres were used to make cloth. I immediately felt very guilty about chopping down a patch of them in my garden over the weekend. 

From magical myths about weeds being hung over doorways to keep away the devil (herb bennet) to ones with roots that look and taste like Hazlenuts (pignut), others used to make sedatives, and ones that are believed to aid mosquito bites as dock leaves do to nettle stings. There were many uses of wildflowers that I see in my garden, or out and about, that I would have never known.

It’s not just the flowers either. The grasses selection was fantastic too. From the soft and strokable tufted hair grass, to the goose grass that I have got caught up in many times as a child. There was even a crested dog tail grass, the names were as fabulous as the specimens themselves.

Some of the most impressive flowers we saw were 4 different varieties of wild orchids – absolutely gorgeous. I would thoroughly recommend coming on the wildflower walk just to see these in all their glory. Common spotted, pyramidal, bee orchid and butterfly orchid.  I felt very privileged to have seen 4 types, considering we only found one Bee Orchid!  The wild lilies were incredible as well. I have never seen them in their natural setting and they were quite a thing of beauty. We saw white and pink Martagon Lilies, everyone’s cameras were out and we were all queuing to get a glimpse, I have never seen so much excitement over flowers, but it was worth it. They were the most majestic flowers, as tall as me and with the most beautiful colours and shape.

White Martagon lily
 

 Bee orchid

Walking down Palmer Ride, which I personally think is the most beautiful wildflower meadow and watching the many butterflies and bees land on the flowers, I thought to myself, there is more to Westonbirt than trees. Trees here are undoubtedly an incredible spectacle, unimaginably beautiful, diverse and magical… but the flowers, the grasses and the wildlife can be too. It’s a haven for nature as well as an arboretum.

It’s very sad to think that wildflowers are in decline. The flowers here remind me of many meadows I have walked in over the years, but most prominently my parent’s wildflower area they had in which they and I relaxed during many summers in my childhood.

In amongst the flowers - taken at Palmer Ride, Westonbirt

A lady on the walk had done just the same, created her own wildflower patch, something I think we should all consider in a bid to keep these beautiful and important flowers alive.

When you visit next time, walk down Palmer ride and take in all the flowers we have here. It really is something special. Better still, take a wildflower walk for yourself, you won’t regret it.

The last wildflower walk for this year is August 9. Details can be found here…

Speed humps and surfacing- a project update by Sophie Nash

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Sophie Nash is Project Officer for the Westonbirt Project. She organises the logistics of the project, working with architects and project managers for various elements to deliver the works.

This is the new road into the site for staff, it's ready for surfacing!

This is the new road into the site for staff, it's ready for surfacing!

This is a new speed hump that is currently being surfaced. It crosses to the all ability path that runs from the coach park to the new Welcome Building.

This is a new speed hump that is currently being surfaced. It crosses to the all ability path that runs from the coach park to the new Welcome Building.

Here is one of our speed humps under construction. In the background on the left you can see the Plant centre pick up parking, as well as the crosses on the left that show where the low gradient ramp is going to be.

Here is one of our speed humps under construction. In the background on the left you can see the Plant Centre pick up parking, as well as the crosses on the left that show where the low gradient all ability path is going to be.

The turning on the right in this photo will be into an overflow car park.  On the left in the distance is the plant centre and its pick up parking.

On the right in this photo will be an overflow car park. On the left in the distance is the Plant Centre and its pick up parking.

One of the three main paths to the front of the Welcome Building. Cables for the lighting bollards are in and ready to be connected.

One of the three main paths to the front of the Welcome Building. Cables for the lighting bollards are in and ready to be connected.

 

The marker in the middle of the road will be the new location for Island barriers for staff to access and depart the site.

The marker in the middle of the road will be the new location for island barriers for staff to access and depart the site.