Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

The joy of volunteering at Westonbirt

Posted: June 1, 2023 at 15:35 pm Author: Martin Green

The question I am often asked is ‘Why do you want to be a trustee of The Friends?'

Well, why wouldn’t you? Today (20th April 2023) just epitomised everything about Westonbirt that is brilliant.

Purple flowers

I have been a guide at Westonbirt for more years than I care to remember and today was one of those days that confirms why I want to be involved. Let me tell you about it. The sun was shining, it was warm and the arboretum was in full spring colour. The Magnolias have escaped the frost, the rhododendrons are just emerging, the camellias are saying their last goodbyes and the Tai Haku was as magnificent as I have ever seen it. Silk Wood is a riot of spring flowers. We only had four visitors join today's guided walk but they were lovely people. Two were friends of The Friends and regular visitors and the other two were first-time visitors. They all really enjoyed the walk and gave us great feedback as they trotted off for their well-deserved coffee and cake. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing a passion with others and (hopefully) enhancing their visit.

I get so much from Westonbirt that I want to give a little back. Hence when I was asked if I would become a trustee of The Friends it was difficult to refuse. As a trustee I really appreciate the value that The Friends brings to the site. Many of the developments on the site would not have happened unless they had been fully or partially funded by The Friends. Also, much of the support may not be visible to the casual observer. For example, The Friends are supporting the project manager role of the Silk Wood regeneration project manager. This role is important not only for the restoration of Silk Wood but will be a huge community engagement project aimed at engaging a wide spectrum of people who would not ordinarily have access to the arboretum.

Magnolia flowers

This support will become even more important over the next few years as the arboretum seeks to implement its 10-year vision while facing the twin challenges of climate change and invasive pests and diseases.

It’s a privilege to be involved.