On 12 and 13 April, visitors to Westonbirt – the National Arboretum, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, will have the chance to explore the 150-year legacy of the Westonbirt Estate.
This rare opportunity will be included in the price of admission to the arboretum. Activities at the arboretum, house and gardens will enable visitors to step back in time and appreciate the magnificent former home of Robert Holford, a key figure in Cotswolds history.
Tree team demonstrations and propagation tours will demonstrate how the arboretum has grown from one man’s aspirations, to an internationally important tree and shrub collection. Over at Westonbirt House, tours, free access to the gardens and guided walks will show visitors how the different aspects of the estate were designed to work in harmony.
It is anticipated that the public will soon be able to enjoy the whole estate all year round, with the success of a Heritage Lottery Funding application and the planned Westonbirt Project.
Miranda Winram, Westonbirt Project Director commented: "We have ambitious plans to open up the estate to all. Following urgent conservation work on the stonework and gardens, we plan to increase
access to the picturesque grounds and wider parkland; connecting the site and preserving it for the future."
Mary Keen, a Holfords of Westonbirt trustee and noted gardening writer commented on some of the restoration work already underway in the gardens.
"With the help of a generous grant from the Finnis Scott Trust, work has begun to restore the unique Victorian herbaceous borders in the Italian Garden, and by the summer, a new border of exotics will be added next to the glamorous Camellia House.
"We hope visitors to the open days will be intrigued by the history of the estate, and share our excitement about the potential to preserve the legacy for the future."
During the open days, access to Westonbirt house and gardens will be available via shuttle bus. Parking will be available at the house for disabled access.
Transfers will run at regular times between the two sites from 10.00.
The last bus from the Arboretum to Westonbirt House will be at 15.00.
The last return bus to the arboretum from the house at 16.30.
Telephone: 01666 880220. www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt