I was a reluctant starter with a lifelong inability to remember facts and a singular lack of tree knowledge – despite having been a FOWA Trustee for seven years. Well, I consoled myself, at least I might learn something about the collection and its history.
Guide training should come with a clear health warning – it is seriously addictive. I won’t elaborate here but suffice to say the course is brilliant, fascinating – and fun. I was hooked!
More importantly, it was a complete eye-opener.
In the past I'd enjoyed many walks among Westonbirt’s trees but, on reflection, had never properly seen, understood or appreciated what I was looking at. It is not surprising that, like (the old) me, many of our regular visitors respond to an invitation to join a walk with a polite: "No thank you, I have been coming here for years."
The most rewarding moment for any guide is when, at the end of an enjoyable walk, someone says: "Thank you so much for persuading me to come today – I’ve really enjoyed it, learned so much and now want to find out more."
So, if you are a ‘regular’ and have never been on one of our walks – just give it a go. It's not all obscure botanical detail – you will see things you hadn’t noticed before, hear stories about the early plant hunters and discover other amazing tree-facts and legends. You will also learn how this world-class arboretum came into existence and is managed today both as a place of recreation and as a major scientific resource.
Even better, try several walks – like our guides, every walk is different!
Free walks with a guide
Exploring seasonal highlights and other fascinating features.
Every day, 11:00am:
The Old Arboretum (1.5 hrs) – often away from the paths.
Sat, Sun & Bank Hols, 2:00pm:
The Silk Wood (1.5 hrs) – well behaved dogs welcome too.
First Sat & Sun of month, 11:30am:
Behind the Scenes (1.5 hrs) – a tour of the Tree Team facilities.