Archive for December, 2014

Tree of the Month: January 2015

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

January - ash

What is this month’s tree of the month?
Fraxinus excelsior
Common ash

Why is it tree of the month?
Because of its spectacular form, most evident in its leafless state

Where can I see it?
Approaching or leaving the Welcome Building you’ll find this fine specimen which is one of the best you’re ever likely to see.

Dan Crowley, Dendrologist, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

A great eight months in community inclusion

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The role of the Community Inclusion team is to enable a greater number of people from under-represented groups to experience the arboretum and to connect with trees. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Community Inclusion Officer, Claire Goulding, is working with older and vulnerable adults at risk of exclusion because of social isolation, lack of transport and mental health conditions.


There are three over-arching programmes:

  1. Facilitated Visits
  2. Outreach
  3. Community Coppice

Some of the key aims and objectives…

  • To grow participants’ confidence in their own ability
  • To encourage individuals to share a positive experience, working together
  • Increase in physical stamina and health
  • Learn about our tree collection to explore and discover some medicinal and aromatic trees in our collection
  • For participants to grow therapeutic connection with Westonbirt Arboretum and trees in general as spaces for personal rejuvenation and relaxation.

Key achievements this year…

  • The ‘Westonbirt Wellbeing Programme’ has been a natural development from earlier pilot Community Coppice group from Nelson Trust this year, now working with Nelson Trust Women’s Service as a now stand alone therapeutic programme. This programme has incorporated a reflective diary looking to evidence the impact the activities are having on the women’s mental health and wellbeing
  • New partnerships with NHS social prescribing, probation services, and brain injury clinics in development
  • New marketing design to attract participants.

Snapshot of groups I have built partnerships with…

  • Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Memory Cafes
  • Bristol Drugs Project
  • Turning Point Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service
  • Nelson Trust Women’s Service
  • The Churn Project
  • Gloucestershire Rural Community Council
  • Stroud District Council
  • Hazlewood Housing Association
  • Fairshare Community Action Charity
  • The Hollies residential care home
  • Ilsom House residential care home

Main activities trailed this year with a range of adult community groups…

  • Nature printing – using an old botanic printing technique exploring different specimens in the collection
  • Aromatherapy and trees – to learn about the aromatic and medicinal properties of some trees in our collection and from around the world by making an aromatherapy cosmetic balm and taking part in a led therapeutic hand massage workshop
  • Community Coppice Project: learn about Westonbirt’s past connection with coppicing and current woodland management practice
  • Mindfulness and sensory walks out in the arboretum
  • Hurdle-making and green wood products such as spatulas, butter knives and spoons
  • Natural craft activities such as foraging, bushfire cooking, fire lighting making drawing charcoal, woodland mobiles and clay sculptures
  • Multi-sensory outreach programme that taking our interactive reminiscent activities out to dementia groups and elderly care homes and encouraging individuals to share their anecdotes and connections with trees.

Participants figures to date from May – December 2014…

  • 188 participants have visited Westonbirt Arboretum as part of a facilitated visit programme
  • 260 participants have taken part in the offsite outreach programme
  • 111 participants have taken part in the Community Coppice woodland management programmes .

Find out more about our work bringing new audiences to Westonbirt…

Claire Goulding, Community Inclusion Officer, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

A new home for the Tree Team: The Wolfson Tree Management Centre

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Tree team

The ground works have begun on what will become the new Wolfson Tree Management Centre. The new facility will provide all that Westonbirt’s expert tree team needs to manage the tree collection.

Existing treeteam yard

The existing yard, tractor shed and ‘mess room’ are too small for the team, see photo above.

New plan

The new Tree Management Centre will provide the Tree Team with a new yard and a new large machinery store. The new machinery store will include a series of large ‘fire engine’ type doors so the team can drive through the building to access the Old Arboretum to the north and Silk Wood to the south. This large store space will provide secure undercover storage for all of the machinery and tools used by the team.

Groundworks are underway!  Groundworks are underway!

The new yard will be over four times the size of the current yard. This space will be used for storing materials such as planting stakes and netting. A new environmentally friendly vehicle wash down facility has also been included in the design of the yard.

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The contractors have been preparing the site by removing sub-soil and bringing in and compacting new stone. They have been levelling this area to ensure any rainfall falls correctly to the new drainage. The compacted stone will form a solid base for the drainage and subsequent concrete foundations.

Project Manager