Archive for September, 2015

Wolfson Tree Management Centre: a quick update!

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Work is currently underway 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.

The first truss and end gable for the new machinery store is now in! The truss weighed 4 tonnes. The contractors will now move on to the other end gable and work their way into the middle of the building. The crane will also be used to lift some of the largest cladding panels – we anticipate it being here for another two weeks.

The first truss being lifted into place

Working on putting the timber frame together

Sophie Nash, Project Manager

Tree of the month: October 2015

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Carya cordiformis

What is tree of the month?
Carya cordiformis – bitternut

Why is it tree of the month?
The hickories are renowned for their autumn colour and C. cordiformis is always a hit. Attaining a considerable size and turning a beautiful yellow, it is well worth growing where space allows. It is also one of the easiest of the genus to identify, with its narrow leaflets, small, ribbed fruit and sulphur yellow buds.

Where can I find it?
The UK champion (for height) can be found not far from Mitchell Drive in the Old Arboretum (G26 on your seasonal trail map), growing alongside other fine members of the genus. Similarly, our finest specimen in Silk Wood (see photo) can be found in what was once the Hickory Collection, at the south end of Broad Drive. Along with these, specimens from last years successful seed collecting expedition to the USA will be making their way into the collection this autumn.

Dan Crowley, Dendrologist

Getting out in Gloucester!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

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 Youth Officer Karen Price is working with young people so that they can discover, explore and enjoy the arboretum, either as part of an organised group or as individual visitors.

As the summer term drew to a close and fond farewells were waved to departing groups, the community youth team hit the road… to Gloucester.

Working in partnership with Active Connections, a not for profit organisation which works to connect communities with sport and recreation in urban areas, six roadshows were held over the summer holidays in and around the city of Gloucester.

The aim was to take a taster of the Wild Westonbirt community youth programme to young people and communities that wouldn’t otherwise visit the arboretum.

Working alongside Active Connections, who offer a range of more familiar street sports to young people, we aimed to engage young people in activities they may not be so familiar with such as fire lighting and coppice tool use.

After a slow start in Kingsway on a wet Wednesday afternoon, numbers picked up over the next week, with curious onlookers attracted by the smoke from mini campfires in Gloucester Park. All of these participants were invited to a fun day at the arboretum in week three, which saw over 100 young people and children playing zorb football and splitting firewood on the Downs.

We welcomed another 50 participants to Robinswood Hill Country Park the following week, on a blazing hot day was a lazing hot day – we ended up fire lighting non stop for three hours!

Unfortunately a very rainy day brought activities to an early halt in Podsmeade despite our attempts to continue with 20 people squeezed under the gazeebo.

Luckily our final day in the city, spent at White City and working with staff and young people from the Venture Playground, saw a return to sunshine and non-stop activities with another 40 participants.

The summer was rounded off with a promotional event at this years Treefest, with over 750 people, young and old, taking part in coppice restoration themed hands on ‘have-a-go’ activities, including a timed fire lighting challenge and the use of a 100 year old cross cut saw as part of the Westonbirt at Work display area. In total, over 1000 people took part in these activities over the summer holidays, going a long way to reaching new audiences.

Karen Price, Community Youth Officer

The Wolfson Tree Management Centre: an update

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Work is currently underway 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.

The steel brackets and plates have finally arrived for the machinery store! We’ve been waiting for a while so it’s great to see it here! Now that it is here the contractors are fixing the plates into position they can bolt the frame together.

Steel bolts, brackets and plates have been used in this building due to the scale of the timber being used. The joints and loading positions will be under a large amount of pressure so the engineers specified steel rather than timber fixings.

Some of the steel brackets

Steel plates in position ready for the frame to be lifted and bolted together Steel plates in position ready for the frame to be lifted and bolted together

Now the steel is here the contractors will complete the final preparations to the timber frame. The contractors will be using a crane to lift the large sections of timber frame into position, which will be here in the last two weeks of September. Please come and have a look from Circular Drive in the Old Arboretum, it should be an impressive watch!

The timber cladding is also now complete and ready to be lifted into position when the frame is up and the crane arrives. In order to create a random appearance the contractors have setup a lottery system based on the different sizes of timber and the width of the panels! As the panels have been fabricated in panels we are hoping that the building will look almost complete by mid-October, including the frame, cladding and roof!

Planning the cladding installationThe cladding

Sophie Nash, Project Manager