Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








Home Page


12 April 2010

Westonbirt Aboretum

Team Outing


A team outing to Westonbirt Arboretum was organised to include members of the Dean Green Team and those who volunteer at the Cyril Hart Arboretum in the Forest of Dean. We met at Beechenhurst car park and travelled in a mini bus over the old Severn Bridge to Westonbirt

Severn Bridge

The view of the new Severn Bridge (at speed!)

We were met at Westonbirt by Hugh Angus who is the Head of Tree Collections and was to give us a very informative tour of the Arboretum. He has visited the Cyril Hart Arboretum and was a very useful source of good advice for our future plans.

A dedicated team of 12 arborists, horticulturalists and other technical staff propagate, plant and maintain Westonbirt's 15,000 trees and 240 hectares of grounds. Every year they plant about 300 to 400 trees to replace those removed, and others in expanding parts of the arboretum such as Maple Loop. Young trees are regularly checked to monitor their development and where necessary weeding, formative pruning and other early tending is carried out. As well as week-by-week and annual maintenance cycles such as grass cutting and shrub pruning, a longer-term cycle of tree and landscape maintenance is followed.

Westonbirt has an army of volunteers, 250 or so, and there is a waiting list to join them but the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum do a sterling job organising them all! This makes our little team seem very small and insignificent but, in fact, Westonbirt is so large compared to our Arboretum that such a mass of people would be required. Look at their site


The Magnolias were in full flower and this one was on the Circular Drive as we commenced our tour round the old Arboretum.


Hugh Angus explaining the layout and planting techniques


Betula ermanii - Found near Down Gate the champion Erman's birch is an outstanding specimen at a UK level. Relatively rare it was introduced from NE Asia and Japan in 1890.


Penny Jones does all the propagating at Westonbirt and took a few of us round the greenhouses and showed us the various stages and techniques she uses. Of particular interest, were her Monkey Puzzle tree seeds which had just started to sprout. One of our members had collected Monkey Puzzle seeds at the Cyril Hart Arboretum but had no success with growing them - now she knows why! Next time she'll do it properly!

Back to Top