Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

70 Years, 70 Trees

Posted: September 29, 2022 at 16:03 pm Author: Rebecca Lockyear Exhibition Curator

I am the curator of ‘70 Years 70 Trees Art Exhibition' and have gathered a palette of 14 artists, including myself, to work together on creating a body of work that celebrates trees. I live in Sidmouth, which is home to the country's only civic arboretum, originally stocked by Victorian plant collectors. The Sid Valley proved an ideal setting to plant the more tender varieties. Our south-facing valley is protected on both sides, with the river Sid running through. The Goldilocks microclimate this creates suited them well and two hundred years later we enjoy a fantastic collection of specimen trees.

Fragile Beech by Trixie Walker

Sidmouth Arboretum was formed in 2010 to protect these trees and plant more for the future. You can find detailed walking maps of the arboretum area, which can be accessed freely. There is also a catalogue of the significant trees on their website.

In this year of the Queen’s Jubilee, it was our mission to create 70 works of art to celebrate trees. We started in Sidmouth and are absolutely delighted to be focusing our attention now on the stunning treescape of The National Arboretum at Westonbirt. During this summer and early autumn, we have been working on pieces that reflect the beautiful autumnal colours of Westonbirt and its gracious avenues. We hope you will recognise a number of these and enjoy them as much as we have had creating them.

The exhibition will be in The Great Oak Hall, 22 and 23 October, 9am - 4:30pm. Entry to the exhibition is free, after admission to Westonbirt. All paintings will be for sale at affordable prices. Also for sale are prints, wooden postcards, glassware, gifts and cards. The perfect opportunity to stock up on Christmas shopping.

Winter silver birch Westonbirt by Rebecca LockyearAutumn Shadows by Lucie Milner


Saturday 22 October, 11am

We will also be hosting a short talk by Sir Ghillean Prance, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and Amazon Explorer, entitled “My favourite trees and why we should plant more”.

Sunday 23 October, 11am

Jon Ball, Chair of Sidmouth Arboretum, will describe our Jurassic Heritage Coast tree planting in Sidmouth’s favourite public park, Connaught Gardens.

Pre-booking for these talks is not required, entry first come first served basis.

We look forward to seeing you there, best wishes Rebecca Lockyear. The selling exhibition will be open to the public throughout the day from 9am - 4:30pm.

Below is a billboard poster completed in collaboration with Sidmouth Arboretum and Sidmouth School of Art. It showcases 22 of our paintings from Sidmouth Arboretum and was part of the ‘Wall Space Project’ Sidmouth this summer. Find out more...

Sidmouth Arboretum and Sidmouth School of Art billboard

Trees featured are English Oak, Monterey Pine, Corsican Pine, Beech, Norway Maple, Linden, Foxglove Tree, Tree Ferns, Cabbage Palms and Apple Tree.