Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

The Great Oak Hall

This traditionally built structure is located at the heart of Westonbirt Arboretum and is the hub of our charity. Take a look around inside this wonderful building...

History of the hall

The construction of The Great Oak Hall began in 1999, thanks to the generous donations from our members and supporters. Find out more about the build...

Large oak trees were used to build the majority of this impressive building, with 40 trees being kindly donated by local private estate owners, whilst 60 oaks came from Westonbirt itself. Learn more about the lifecycle of trees with the development of Westonbirt Woodworks.

Traditional methods were used wherever possible. The frame was put together using only hand tools, though a mobile band saw was used to cut the main beams, rather than the far more laborious pit saw of earlier times!
The roof shingles were cut from western red cedars, while the inner lining of the roof harks back to similar medieval structures, being made of a layer of thatch wheat straw held in place by chestnut laths.
The stone flags were cut from Cotswold limestone, which contains fossils dating back to over 50 million years. Although under-floor heating may seem like a modern convenience, one might say this is the modern version of the Romans’ hypocaust under-floor heating!
As the oak used in construction was freshly felled, it will have continued to dry out in situ. This will have placed pressure on the pegged joints. This movement in the frame meant that a special system of glazing had to be devised to avoid breaking either the seal or glass.

The Great Oak Hall is still standing strong and has come to be a focal point of interest due to its beauty in the landscape.